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Full text of "At the Butterfly house"

\ Brown, r ^. A. 

At the Butterfly House 

v- M i '.,Y 

8850^ 
j Brown, E . A,. 




TT 

At the Butterfly House 



DAT NUV 



MEMORIAL HALL LIBRARY 

ANDOVER, MASS. 



This book may be kept for fourteen days. 
Overtime two cents a day. Books detained 
two weeks over the time will be sent for at 
the borrower's expense. 

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especial demand cannot be renewed or 
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OFHCO 



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H B. MCARDLE 



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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



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AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 



BOOKS 

BY 

EDNA A. BROWN 



Cloth. Illustrated. 
Price per volume Net $1.35. 



FOUR GORDONS 

UNCLE DAVID'S BOYS 

WHEN MAX CAME 

ARNOLD'S LITTLE BROTHER 

ARCHER AND THE "PROPHET" 

THE SPANISH CHEST 

AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 



LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO., BOSTON 




" Stop prancing, you crazy dervishes, and tell us where you 

found it. " — Page 356. 



AT THE 
BUTTERFLY HOUSE 



BY 



EDNA A. BROWN 



ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS 



*» £04 »'*' 







BOSTON 
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO. 



Published, August, 1918 



Copyright, 191b, 
By Lothbop, Lee & Shepard Co. 



All rights reserved 



AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 



BERWICK & SMITH 00. 

NORWOOD, MASS. 
U. 6. A. 



" Isn't there going to be another story like 
the Four Gordons ! ' ' the letters asked. ' ' We 
love all your books, but that one best of any. 
Please write another, just an every-day 
story, about boys and girls who live in a little 
town as we do, and go to church and public 
school like us, and have to make their own 
good times at home." 

Well, — here is the story, the "every-day 
story," and the author dedicates it with love 
to all the young people who care about her 
books. 



3C&U4 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I Aunt Nancy's Will 11 

II The Cottage on Thorn 23 

III Cart Sees the Butterfly 33 

IV New Friends 51 

V RlDGEFIELD HlGH SCHOOL 68 

VI Aunt Nancy's Secretary 80 

VII A Committee Meeting 99 

VIII A Hunting Chapter 109 

IX One Monday . 123 

X Harvest Supper 136 

XI Kitty's Wedding 149 

XII The Prize- Speaking 161 

XIII Off on Snow-Shoes 176 

XIV Through the Storm 190 

XV Cloud Mountain Camp 207 

XVI Morning on Thorn 221 

XVII Candace Plans 232 

XVIII An Express Package 243 

XIX Cary Attends a Lecture . . . . . 254 

XX Van Visits the Library ...... 267 

XXI Current Events Class 277 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAGE 

XXII On Ridge Road ........ 287 

XXIII Van's Evening ........ 297 

XXIV A Trying Saturday . . ^ . . . .308 
XXV Cary Goes Shares 319 

XXVI A Mysterious Stranger 331 

XXVII Cousin Anthony Comes 339 

XXVIII Candace has a Letter 355 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



"Stop prancing, you crazy dervishes, and tell 
us where you found it." (Page 356) . . Frontispiece 

KACING 
PAGE 

"Some day, I think my fortune is coming on the morn- 
ing train." 32 

"Would you mind telling me what you expect to find 
in that water?" 56 



TFwo hours later found the four still pressing on 
through woods that seemed endless 190 

The next moment a man stepped into the room . . . 210 

Mr. Richards emerged from the stack to find Van pick- 
ing himself out of a chaos of books 276 



AT THE BUTTERFLY 
HOUSE 

i CHAPTEE I 

AUNT NANCY *S WILL 

Had Cary Dexter not been so busy with all 
the responsibilities belonging to the exalted 
position of freshman class president in the 
Girls ' High School, she might have noticed that 
both her father and mother were unusually pre- 
occupied during the early summer. At inter- 
vals it did strike Cary that they sat up late talk- 
ing and consulting over letters that seemed con- 
stantly coming, but these impressions were soon 
erased when Cary returned to the really im- 
portant affairs of life. Dad, head of the mathe- 
matical department in the big Technical School, 
was always busy and hurried toward the end 
of term. That he should be absent-minded was 
nothing unusual, but more than once, Cary 
found her mother sitting with idle hands, or 

ii 



12 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

amusing little Christine at hours when she was 
ordinarily occupied with paint-brush or draw- 
ing-board. 

One afternoon, coming in rather earlier than 
customary, she was surprised to hear her 
father's voice in the library. 

"Why, you're home first, Daddy,' ' she said, 
appearing in the doorway. ' ' How did you get 
here so soon?" 

"Examinations,' ' replied her father. "The 
schedule, as you know, is all upset. I have been 
free since eleven. Come in, Cary, and join our 
council. Mother and I think our big girl should 
count in our plans." 

Cary dropped her books in a chair by the hall 
door and came to the couch where her father 
was sitting. 

"What is it, Daddy?" she asked, cuddling 
close to him. "I thought our vacation was all 
settled. Has anything happened!?" 

"We weren't talking of vacation just now. 
Cary, I have been offered the principalship of 
the High School in a small town. Shall I ac- 
cept?" 

Cary looked questioningly at her father, alert 
and rather boyish in appearance, with a tall, 



AUNT NANCY'S WILL 13 

spare figure and clean-shaven face. Only a 
few gray hairs gleamed on his brown head, and 
his keen eyes were offset by a pleasant smile. 
He was quite capable of thundering at a class 
of boys in a manner that made them shake in 
their boots, but he could also, as those same lads 
knew, be a first-class playmate and comrade. 

"But I thought you liked the Technical 
High," Cary began. "Does it mean that we 
should have to leave town? But of course it 
does, — I needn't have asked. Is it somewhere 
you want to go, Daddy ?" 

Mr. Dexter looked at his wife with a smile. 
"Our daughter hits the nail on the head, doesn't 
she, Anne? Well, Cary, there are advantages 
both ways. If we go, we shall live in a very 
beautiful place in an extremely healthy location. 
You and Christine will have an outdoor life and 
all the fun of the country, combined with many 
privileges that belong to a city. The school is 
not large, perhaps two hundred pupils, but is in 
excellent condition and standing, being a com- 
bination of an endowed academy and a public 
school. So far as money is concerned, the 
change isn't worth considering, but — " 

Again Mr. Dexter stopped and exchanged a 



i 4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

glance with his wife. Cary, looking up, caught 
an odd little expression on her mother's face, 
almost of hurt pride. 

" Where is it, Daddy !" she asked at once. 

"Ridgefield, Vermont," replied her father. 

Cary gave an exclamation. * ' Not the Ridge- 
field, where you lived with Great-aunt Nancy 
when you were a little boy?" 

"The very Ridgefield.' ' 

Cary looked utterly puzzled. "But I don't 
understand," she said after a pause. "I've 
never been there, and I thought — Mother once 
said you didn't care to go back." 

"I think you are old enough now to hear the 
whole story, Cary," said her father. "You 
know, of course, that my parents died when I 
was a little fellow and that Aunt Nancy brought 
me up. We lived in the old Dexter homestead 
in Ridgefield, the ' Butterfly House,' as the whole 
county has nicknamed it. ' ' 

"Why is it called that?" asked Cary at once. 

"For a very good reason," said her father, 
smiling. i l Since I have never mentioned it be- 
fore, I believe I won't explain now, because if 
we go to Ridgefield, you will enjoy discovering 
it for yourself." 



AUNT NANCY'S WILL 15 

" Because the garden is full of butterflies ! ' ' 
queried his daughter. 

" There 's a beautiful garden, but I never 
knew that butterflies favored it above others. 
You won 't get it out of me. Well, Aunt Nancy 
was immensely proud of the place and always 
kept it in perfect condition. It stands on the 
main street of the village, an old stone house, 
one of the finest of its type in the State. I 
lived there from the time I was seven years old, 
attended Bidgefield Academy, went away to col- 
lege, but spent all my vacations with Aunt Nancy 
and considered it my home. Aunt Nancy was 
peculiar in many ways but I was very fond of 
her and she was fond of me. After I married, 
she insisted that we should come that summer 
just as usual and she appeared devoted to your 
mother. 

"We had no other near relatives, just a dis- 
tant cousin, living in the west, and as I was 
Aunt Nancy's only nephew, and practically her 
adopted son, it was natural that I should ex- 
pect the Butterfly House to become my prop- 
erty after her death. Had she left no will, it 
would have come to me by law, but she left a 
will, and a strange one it was. ' ' 



16 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Mr. Dexter paused for a moment. His hand 
was absently caressing Cary's but he was look- 
ing at his wife. 

"In her will," he went on, "she left me the 
old mahogany secretary she had used and all 
its contents. Examination showed absolutely 
nothing of value in it, merely old letters and 
some worthless papers." 

"But, Daddy," interrupted Cary, "there was 
a secret drawer, of course. Didn 't you find it ? " 

' ' Of course there was a secret drawer, — three 
of them, in fact, — but they held only some old 
postage-stamps, worth about fifty dollars." 

Cary looked dismayed. "I wish I could see 
that desk," she remarked. "I should like to 
hunt through it. Where is it?" 

"Still in the Butterfly House. There was no 
room for so big a piece of furniture in our apart- 
ment here in the city. I satisfied myself that 
nothing was concealed and the lawyers also in- 
spected the desk. But that was not the only odd 
thing about Aunt Nancy 's will. She left a queer 
bequest to your mother, — nothing more nor less 
than an old rag doll that had been played with 
by little Dexters for over a century." 

Cary looked wonderingly at her mother, 



AUNT NANCY'S WILL 17 

whose lips were curving into a smile which be- 
came a laugh as she met the twinkle in Mr. Dex- 
ter ? s eyes. 

' i We can laugh about it now, Cary, ' ' she said, 
" but fifteen years ago, it didn't seem funny to 
us. I suppose Aunt Nancy put that in because 
you were a few months old and she thought you 
might enjoy the doll as much as many other 
Dexter babies had done." 

" Where is it? I don't remember having 
it," said her daughter. 

"That, too, is still in the Butterfly House. 
The doll is bigger than you were then, and we 
were feeling sore and unhappy. We left it in 
its trunk in the attic. I suppose it is still there. 
If we go to Ridgefield, perhaps Chrissy will 
care for it. ' ' 

"But what did Aunt Nancy do with the 
house V 9 asked Cary, turning again to her 
father. 

"After those two bequests in her will, and 
some provision for a faithful servant, she left 
all other property to this distant cousin, An- 
thony Davenport. Anthony is a man of means, 
and did not care for the Butterfly House. He 
had never been there and the associations meant 



1 8 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

nothing to him. He felt that the will was pe- 
culiar, not to say unjust, and he tried to ar- 
range matters with me, but — well, that was fif- 
teen years ago. There is a difference between 
the hurt pride of twenty-five and the wider 
vision of forty,' ' said Mr. Dexter reflectively. 
' ' Anthony has always had the place looked after 
and more than once has offered me the free use 
of it, but I never felt like going back even for 
a summer, nor did your mother. We cared for 
Aunt Nancy and she for us. We always felt 
that she meant to place in the secretary some 
papers that were not there. ' 9 

"But it seems as though there must be some 
hidden drawer that you didn 't find, ' ' said Cary 
hopefully. 

' ' No use, little girl, ' ' said her father, smiling. 
' ' More than a few brains and many an hour have 
been spent over that piece of furniture. Don 't 
go to Ridgefield, expecting to accomplish what 
wiser heads than yours couldn 't manage. Your 
mother and I no longer feel hurt about it; we 
simply think that Aunt Nancy's plan, whatever 
it was, miscarried. The Butterfly House will 
not be ours until I buy it back from Anthony, 
as I may some day. But to return to our pres- 



AUNT NANCY'S WILL 19 

ent discussion. The man who has been prin- 
cipal of the Eidgefield High School died sud- 
denly this spring. The committee has offered 
me the position, with a free hand in managing 
things and introducing improvements. An- 
thony heard of the offer and has written me, 
urging me to go back and to occupy the Butter- 
fly House again.' ' 

"Back where everybody knows you," said 
Cary reflectively. "Daddy, didn't people think 
Aunt Nancy's will was queer?" 

"Indeed they did, little daughter. I was 
urged to contest it and assured that it might be 
broken, especially since Anthony announced 
that he would not oppose any action. It was 
good, practical advice, but I didn't want to do 
it, and your mother agreed with me. I shall al- 
ways believe there was some miscalculation in 
Aunt Nancy's plans. But that is entirely of 
the past. Shall we go to Eidgefield and live 
in the Butterfly House, Cary?" 

"Oh, I should love it," Cary began, but 
stopped short. "Only I should miss the girls 
and school. Why, Daddy," she added sud- 
denly, "I should have you for a teacher. How 
funny ! ' ' 



20 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

" Would it not be?" agreed her father mis- 
chievously. "Perhaps you might find it an in- 
teresting experience. But there will be plenty 
of young people at Ridgefield, and if they are 
like those of my day, you will enjoy them. No, 
it isn't a boarding-school in any respect, though 
some students from other towns may board in 
the village in order to attend the school. Years 
ago, it was one of a large number of endowed 
academies in small New England towns, but as 
the public school system spread, this was ab- 
sorbed. It used to be called Ridgefield Acad- 
emy, but is now just the town High School and 
is known as that." 

"Do you want to go, Mammy V 9 Cary asked 
suddenly. 

"I want to do what is best," said Mrs. Dex- 
ter. "We have been talking about it for some 
time, Cary, though we would not wholly decide 
until we told you. In many ways, I shall like 
to go, for I have delightful recollections of the 
summer I spent there. But I feel that your 
father is the person to settle the matter. As 
I remember the house and the town, both are 
charming. We shall miss our city friends, but 
there will be many compensations." 



AUNT NANCY'S WILL 21 

Cary's eyes fell on her little sister, content- 
edly playing with her dolls and toy dishes. 

"The garden used to be wonderful/ ' said 
her mother, following the direction of her 
glance, "a garden where fairies ought to live 
and do live, if there are any left in the world. 
There would be flower dollies for Christine and 
a kitten and other things we can't have in a 
city apartment." 

"And the big rag doll in the attic," put in 
Cary, smiling as her mother kissed Christine's 
flossy head. * l Let 's go, all of us. I never lived 
in a separate house, only in a block." 

"The Butterfly House has beautiful big 
square rooms," her mother began, but broke 
off suddenly. ' ' Charles, there is the telephone. 
It's probably for you, so you might as well go 
in the beginning. ' ' 

Mr. Dexter left the room, and Cary suddenly 
found herself included in the embrace her 
mother was giving Christine. 

"Cary, you're a dear," Mrs. Dexter whis- 
pered. "Daddy does want to go, and it is best 
that he should. But he would not let me say 
anything to you beforehand, and if it was going 
to be hard for you to leave school and the girls, 



22 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

he would have let that count. Of course some 
things will be difficult, but we shall have much 
that the city can't give us and we shall not lose 
our real friends. There will be vacations and 
visits. Father says, and truly, that he no 
longer feels the injustice of that will, but I feel 
it for him, and so it has been harder for me to 
see this offer without prejudice. But I know 
that he wishes to accept, and we will make real 
fun of it and enjoy living in the Butterfly 
House.' ' 

"Oh, I shall hate to leave the girls," sighed 
Cary. "I was so interested in Aunt Nancy's 
will that I didn't think of that. And I suppose 
the High School will be very different." 

"Yes," assented her mother, "but perhaps 
you will like that. A smaller school always has 
some advantages." 

Cary was silent. She was quite sure that she 
could never like any school so well as the one 
where she had enjoyed the past year. But 
all that Daddy said about Ridgefield was inter- 
esting, and before September stretched a vaca- 
tion full of promising pleasures. And why 
was the old Dexter homestead known as the But- 
terfly House? 



CHAPTER n 

THE COTTAGE ON THORN 

Through the town of Eidgefield wanders a 
pleasant river, at first scurrying over stones 
in the shallows, but gradually deepening into a 
stream strong and wide enough to do real serv- 
ice in turning busy mill wheels. Away back in 
the hills it has its source, and down the Ridge, 
behind the town, come numerous smaller 
streams that during spring freshets bring suf- 
ficient snow and muddy water to menace some- 
times the Main Street bridge. At the south end 
of the town lies charming Crystal Lake and all 
around rise the everlasting hills, green to 
wooded summits or boasting well-cultivated 
farm lands. The five mountains that form the 
Ridge look down from imposing heights, some- 
times lowering with storm and cloud, but al- 
ways giving a sense of protection and brooding 
calm. 

Three-quarters up Thorn, the highest of the 

23 



24 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

five, at the end of a little-used cart-path, hides a 
tiny unpainted cottage, so much a part of the 
mountain in its grayness and obscurity that 
only a sharp eye can discover it at any distance. 
Indeed, the cleared fields about it alone betray 
its existence, and those fields are not so clear 
nor the farm so prosperous since Andrew Halli- 
day was carried down the half-obliterated road 
for the last time. Bushes and shrubs creeping 
inward upon the clearing show the intention 
of Thorn to take back to its bosom the little plot 
of land so hardly wrested from it. 

One September morning signs of life ap- 
peared early about the gray cottage. First 
came a few smoke wreaths curling upward and 
presently the kitchen door opened and a tall 
girl about sixteen appeared with a milk-pail 
in her hand. She paused a moment to look at 
the lake, glimmering under sunrise clouds, cast 
a glance at drowsy Ridgefield, discernible in the 
yet shadowed valley, and looked to the moun- 
tain summit behind the house. 

"Good-morning, old Thorny,' * she said 
softly. "You haven't your night-cap on. Nice 
old fellow !" 

From a roughly built shack came the im- 



THE COTTAGE ON THORN 25 

patient low of a cow, causing Candace to hasten 
her steps. Granny would get breakfast, their 
very simple breakfast, but old Posy must be 
milked and turned out in the rocky pasture, 
stretching up the slope of Thorn. Indeed, 
there was much to be done before Candace could 
turn her attention to the important task ap- 
pointed for the day. Posy attended to, the milk 
must be taken down to John Park's house at the 
very base of Thorn before the boys set off on 
their delivery route. And to carry four quarts 
of milk a mile down a mountain every morning 
before six o'clock means a good appetite for 
breakfast. The chickens must wait for theirs 
until Candace returned. 

But Granny Halliday was also astir early, 
and by the time Candace came back, the fowls 
were fed and the coffee-pot steaming. 

"I don't see how you are going to manage the 
milk after school begins," Granny said rather 
anxiously as the girl sat down opposite her. 
"You can't tramp down to Park's and come 
home and then go back again 'way to Eidge- 
field." 

"Listen, Granny," said Candace brightly. 
"Mr. Park says the boys won't start so early 



26 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

now the cool weather is coming. The milk 
needn't be down till half -past six, and then I'll 
keep right on to town, you see." 

"But it won't take nearly three hours to walk 
three miles, Candace," remonstrated the old 
lady. 

"No, Granny, of course not. I'm expecting 
to get into Ridgefield about seven, and in bad 
weather I can ride on the milk team. But Mr. 
Park is going to speak to Mr. Baker about me. 
His wife has been looking for somebody to help 
her about the house, and if she wanted me, I 
could put in two hours before school. I'll tend 
to Posy and the hens before I start. Now, 
Granny ! ' ' 

Old Mrs. Halliday was wiping a tear from 
her cheek. "If your father had only lived!" 
she sighed. ' ' Andrew couldn 't bear to see you 
slavin' this way." 

Candace shut her lips tightly. "Father 
cared so much for an education, ' ' she said after 
a pause. "Somehow I know he'd want me to 
get mine, even if it meant doing harder things 
than I plan." As she spoke she looked up at 
some shelves of worn books. "I'm as strong 



THE COTTAGE ON THORN 27 

as an ox and as tough as a meat-ax, Granny, 
and it won't hurt me." 

"You are strong/ ' her grandmother admit- 
ted, ' ' and of course your father wasn 't well and 
everything went against him, no matter how he 
tried. And then, just as he was getting ahead, 
Will Pike persuaded him into goin' security. 
Well, they all do it once. I'm proud that An- 
drew didn 't squeal nor quit when Will ran away 
and left him to shoulder it all. If that hadn't 
come, Andrew would have had somethin' to 
leave you to help get your education.' ' 

"Well, as it is, he has left me something, 
Granny," said the girl quickly. "That's the 
knowledge of what an education means and the 
determination to have it. Father never had 
the chance, but he read and knew about things 
that were going on in the world. Even though 
I couldn't attend school last winter, he read 
with me and taught me, so I 'm sure I can enter 
the second-year class at the High School." 

"There's one thing," said old Mrs. Halliday 
decidedly, "and don't you forget it, Candace. 
Your ancestors crossed the Connecticut river 
when this valley was a wilderness, and helped 



28 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

settle Ridgefield. YouVe as blue blood in your 
veins as any of the town boys and girls. It's 
just misfortune that has kept you back. Your 
family is as good as the Richards and the 
Chapins, — yes, and the Dexters, too." 

"That reminds me, Granny,' ' said Candace, 
helping herself to more oatmeal. "You know 
Charles Dexter is to take Mr. Wainwright's 
place as principal of the High School. Last 
night, Billy Park drove past the Butterfly House 
and it was lighted, so he thinks some of them 
have come." 

"I knew Charles Dexter when he was a boy, 
and a nice boy he was," mused old Mrs. Halli- 
day. "How he did love Thorn! He'd come 
up to see Andrew Saturday afternoons, — they 
were in the Academy together — and off up the 
mountain they'd go. No path nor nothin' but 
they'd make a bee-line for the top. Charlie 
married such a pretty girl, Anne Cary. She 
was an artist and was always goin' round with 
a pencil, makin' the cutest little sketches of 
people. I don't know what kind of a house- 
keeper Anne would turn out, but she 'd find time 
to play with her babies whether she darned their 
stockings or not. She and Charlie were at the 



THE COTTAGE ON THORN 29 

Butterfly House the summer after their wed- 
ding. Charles came to old Nancy 's funeral and 
stayed round Ridgefield a week, but neither of 
them have been here since. He's another man 
who didn't get what ought to come to him. 
Nobody ever understood why Nancy didn't 
leave him the Butterfly House, as he had every 
reason to expect she would. There was a lit- 
tle girl, — she must be about your age, Candace. 
I wonder if there are any other children." 

4 'Billy thinks there are two girls, one quite 
a baby," Candace replied, her mind busy on 
other matters. So the new principal of the 
High School had been her father's friend! 
Perhaps Mr. Dexter would know some way for 
her to earn the money for college. That had 
been her father 's dream, and when he knew that 
for him it had forever faded, he brought back 
the magic colors by dreaming it for Candace, 
and encouraging her to see visions through his 
eyes. College catalogues, obtainable for the 
asking, were tucked among those old books. 
Candace could have recited offhand the ex- 
penses and requirements of each institution 
for women, though their very names were to her 
as the stars, shining but inaccessible. 






30 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Just remember, Candace," her father had 
said to her in one of the rare moments when 
he was free from pain, "if you can get your 
education, I'll be having one through you. 
And it will be something nobody can ever cheat 
you out of or take away. And remember, too, 
that ' there's no such word as fail.' " 

Candace remembered it, remembered all the 
books read aloud in that little kitchen. Though 
her father's long illness and Granny's need of 
help kept her from school the previous winter, 
now she had her chance, and surely if the new 
principal had cared for her father, he would 
be her friend, too. To his unknown damghter 
she gave not a thought. 

Candace was recalled from her reverie by 
Granny 's voice, sounding afar off and speaking 
of sleeves and collars. Candace came down to 
earth with a thud, not, however, unpleasant. 
Why, of course, there was a new dress to be 
finished ! 

Having hastily cleared the table, she ran up 
to her little attic room to return with the half- 
completed garment. 

"Is it going to be becoming, Granny?" she 
asked, holding it before her. "I know I ought 



THE COTTAGE ON THORN 31 

to wear brown, because my hair is red, but all 
the browns were ugly and this green was a 
remnant, so I thought I ought to take it. And 
you know I have two fifty-cent middies to wear 
with my old blue skirt/ ' 

"Yes, child, it's becominV , said Granny, 
speaking no more than the literal truth, for 
Candace 's chestnut hair and red-brown eyes 
looked very well against the soft green material. 

1 * I'm as brown as an Indian with picking ber- 
ries all summer, and my eyes are like muddy 
water," the girl sighed, putting it down. 
"Well, Granny, if you'll baste in the sleeves, 
I'll wash these dishes and then hem the skirt." 

"I wish we could afford somethin' more," 
said Granny, producing her thimble. "I'd like 
you to have pretty things such as Janet Chapin 
and Amy Richards will wear." 

"This will be pretty," said Candace quickly. 
"And if Mrs. Baker does want me to help her, 
I shall spend the first money I earn in buying 
you a new bonnet, Granny, so you'll have no 
excuse when the Parks ask you to drive in to 
church and hear Mr. Richards preach. Is that 
the morning train?" 

A spoon in her hand, Candace stepped to the 



32 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

door to look down the valley. Around the 
farther shore of Crystal Lake crept one of the 
few trains that come up from the south and 
connect Ridgefield with the more distant world. 
Candace watched it skirt the lake shore, turn 
towards the town, heard it come to a stand at 
the station. 

"There's something so romantic about a 
train,' ' she remarked aloud. "Some day, 
Granny, I think my fortune is coming on the 
morning train. I can't say whether it will ap- 
pear as a feather duster or as a nice young 
man, but come it will. I suppose that every 
single day brings a new experience for some- 
body. ' ' 

On that especial day it was Cary Dexter to 
whom the new experience was coming, and as 
she descended from the Pullman, perhaps it 
was not wholly accident that caused her to lift 
her eyes to the Ridge. The girl on the slope of 
Thorn could not see the one on the station plat- 
form, nor could Cary, even had she known where 
to look, have distinguished the cottage on the 
mountain. Yet one looked up, the other down, 
and, perhaps for a second, the sense of a com- 
ing future touched the consciousness of both. 




SOME DAY, I THINK MY FORTUNE IS COMING ON THE MORNING 

train." — Page 32. 



CHAPTEE in 

CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 

Cary's arrival that September morning was 
her first visit to the new home. July had been 
spent as usual at the seashore, where she rowed, 
fished, bathed, sailed, danced, and picnicked in 
such a crowd of gay young people and such a 
steady good time that the month seemed but a 
week. Busy days of packing followed, for 
though the Butterfly House was fully furnished, 
its large rooms afforded ample space for what- 
ever articles they chose to take from the city 
home. 

Cary packed books till she lost count in a 
dizzy sense of numbers ; she sorted her own pos- 
sessions; she took little Christine for after- 
noons in the park, while her mother directed ex- 
perienced workmen in the apartment, and 
Daddy made flying trips between the city and 
Ridgefield, already absorbed in plans for the 

33 



34 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

new school. Just as the last box was ready and 
the family was about to leave for Vermont, 
Grandmother Cary demanded a visit from her 
namesake granddaughter. 

Cary was always ready to spend a week in 
the quiet New Jersey town, so she went will- 
ingly while the rest set their faces northward. 
Now the visit was over, Uncle Jack had escorted 
her as far as Boston, and Daddy would meet her 
on arrival. 

The dawn was yet early when Cary arose and 
dressed that she might have an opportunity to 
see the beautiful Vermont valley through which 
the train was traveling. Trails of cloud ling- 
ered on the soft green hillsides, hills possessing 
a charming attraction of their own, quite unlike 
the sterner slopes of New Hampshire. Many 
lovely vistas were opened by the hurrying train, 
glimpses of lake and river and wood, offering 
enticing places for picnics. 

After breakfast their way persistently fol- 
lowed a river and before long the porter came 
to take Cary's bag and say politely: " Ridge- 
field next, Miss." Almost before she realized 
her arrival, Cary had greeted her father rap- 
turously, given that one glance up to the slopes 



GARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 35 

of Thorn and was settling herself in a little 
motor-car. 

Eidgefield proved a pretty town, with public 
buildings and shops surrounding an attractive 
square and following Main Street for two 
blocks. Then the street crossed the river to 
become one of residences, cozy and attractive, 
some of quite imposing character, but all bear- 
ing witness to the prosperity of the place. 
White houses stood discreetly separated from 
the street by well-kept lawns, which stretched 
behind to the river, where Cary caught glimpses 
of an occasional boat or canoe. 

In about five minutes they came to a big, 
rather bare building set among dismal-looking 
dark firs. Whatever merit its original archi- 
tecture may have possessed was completely 
ruined by two box-like wings at either end. A 
dreadful suspicion entered Cary's mind, but 
it had hardly taken form before she saw the old 
inscription over the door: "Ridgefield Acad- 
emy, 1809." 

"Here's the school/' Mr. Dexter was saying. 

Quite unable to speak, Cary stared at it. 
Her father had spoken with a tone of interest, 
even of real pride. "Eidgefield has sent out 



36 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

some famous alumni," he added. "I hope we 
shall continue to do so." 

Too dismayed to put her feelings into words, 
Cary looked in agonized silence. If that was 
the outside of the High School, what could its 
interior be? She opened her lips to ask a ques- 
tion, but her father was busy returning the 
greetings of passing people, all of whom nod- 
ded and smiled cordially and glanced at Cary 
with real interest. 

"You seem to know everybody,' ' Cary ob- 
served, forgetting her dismay over the appear- 
ance of the High School. 

"Bidgefield knew me as a boy," Mr. Dexter 
answered. "Why, it is like coming home again. 
I had no idea that people would be so pleased 
to see me. Now, in a minute, you will see the 
Butterfly House," he added as the car sped 
swiftly up the wide, tree-shaded street. 

Cary leaned forward, watching eagerly. 
Soon they came to a big three-story stone house 
with brick ends and an ell at the back. From 
the front door a walk led directly to the street 
and on either side of the door were bay win- 
dows. A white-pillared porch stretched the 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 37 

whole of the western side, overlooking a yard 
so extensive as really to merit the name of 
grounds. 

"But, why— !" began Cary. "Oh/" she 
exclaimed. "Was it made on purpose, 
Daddy !" 

"No, it just happened," replied her father, 
stopping his car. "Only after they did see it, 
they touched up the masonry the next time it 
was pointed so as to make it stand out more 
distinctly. ' ' 

The old house was built of smoothed field- 
stone, set in heavy mortar. Above and to the 
left of the center door, below the upper win- 
dows, were four stones a shade darker than 
those composing the rest of the front. Chance 
had so directed the hand of the builder that 
through shape and position, they formed the 
four wings of a big butterfly, distinctly and 
clearly outlined among the lighter-colored 
stones of the f acade. The surrounding mortar 
was now touched with black, so that the butter- 
fly looked as though just alighted with wings 
outspread. 

Cary's delight knew no bounds. She forgot 



38 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

her disappointment over the High School, and 
could hardly stop to greet her mother and 
Christine, coming down the walk. 

" Isn't it exciting and romantic to live in a 
house like this ! ' ' she exclaimed. ' l Oh, Mammy, 
I'm crazy to see the inside. It must be some- 
thing great to come up to the butterfly." 

"Explore as fast as you choose," laughed 
her mother. * ' I '11 be with you in a minute. ' ' 

Cary gave Christine another hug, dropped 
her coat and hat just inside the front door and 
began to look eagerly about. 

On either side of the hall were two rooms, the 
southeastern one used as a sitting-room. The 
original square design had been enlarged at one 
end so that the ceiling, elsewhere cozily low, rose 
in an arch over the eastern side and took in 
three big windows. On the south was a bay 
with five narrow windows, meaning sunshine 
from morning to night. Across the front hall, 
where went up a pretty winding stair with a 
finely curved mahogany railing, was the library, 
another large square room, with a big fireplace, 
a southern bay window and two French case- 
ment windows looking out on the porch and 
down through the garden to the river. Next 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 39 

this was a small northwest room with two win- 
dows. 

1 ' This was Aunt Nancy's bedroom/ ' ex- 
plained Mrs. Dexter, rejoining her daughter. 
1 'Father is going to take it for his study.' ' 

Gary looked about in delight. Shelving was 
already in place and part of the books were un- 
packed. Others in cases were yet on the porch. 

"Is that the old secretary! " she suddenly de- 
manded. 

"Yes," replied her mother, glancing at the 
massive piece of furniture at one side of the 
fireplace. "It always stood here." 

Cary looked from it to the very modern roll- 
top desk her father had brought with him. 
"Do you think Daddy will let me explore it?" 
she asked in an awestruck whisper. 

"Oh, yes, I know he will, but you'd better 
keep that for a rainy day. Only, Cary, don't 
set your heart on finding anything especial. It 
has been too thoroughly examined for that to 
be likelv. ' ' 

"No, I won't," Cary agreed, "but I should 
like to hunt for the secret drawers and find 
them for myself. Where does this other door 
go?" 



4 o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Into the dining-room, ' ' replied her mother. 

Cary opened it and again stopped in joy. She 
faced a big room, square like the others, with 
a fireplace on the north side, under a fine white- 
painted colonial mantel like that in the library. 
At one side of the hearth was a narrow tall 
cupboard let into the chimney space. Seven 
doors had this dining-room, and but one win- 
dow looking north, yet the room was anything 
but dark, for the south doors to living-room and 
library furnished floods of light. 

" Where do they all go?" Cary demanded, 
opening one door after another. Three opened 
into rooms already seen, a fourth into a closet 
under the front stairs, a fifth into a narrow hall 
leading to a side door, a sixth into a huge china- 
closet, containing a window and a set basin, and 
the seventh into the kitchen. 

As Cary opened the seventh door, and looked 
into a big sunny room, with two east and two 
west windows, and north windows in both pantry 
and kitchen entry, she stopped in surprise to 
see a woman sitting by the table. Mrs. Dexter 
also looked surprised. Ten minutes earlier, 
hurrying to meet Cary, she had shut the door 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 41 

upon a kitchen that, though far from orderly, 
was quite tenantless. 

The intruder rose smiling. "You don't 
know me, do you, Miss Anne?" she asked. "I 
heard Charlie was coming back to Ridgefield 
and so I told my sister I guessed she 'd have to 
get along without me this winter. ' ' 

For a second Mrs. Dexter stood spell-bound, 
evidently struggling with some half-forgotten 
memory. " If it isn 't Lizzie ! ' ' she suddenly ex- 
claimed, and to Cary's amazement held both 
hands impulsively to the new-comer. 

"Yes, I'm Lizzie," said the woman, laugh- 
ing delightedly as she grasped them, "and I'm 
as strong as ever if I am fifty years old. I 
know what it is to get any kind of help in Ridge- 
field, except those untidy French-Canadians 
from the lower village, and I was sure your city 
servants wouldn't come, or wouldn't stay if they 
did come. I know all the ways of the house and 
unless you and Charlie have completely changed 
since vou were here that summer, and since he 
was a boy, I guess we can hit it off together. 
At least, we'll give each other a trial, if so be 
you're favorable," she ended more cautiously. 



42 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Lizzie, this is the best luck that ever befell 
us!" exclaimed Mrs. Dexter. "Want you? 
I should think we did ! Cary, ' ' she added, turn- 
ing to her surprised daughter, "this is Lizzie 
Phillips, who was with Aunt Nancy for years 
and years." 

"I worked for Miss Nancy from the time I 
was seventeen till the day she died, ' ' put in the 
smiling Lizzie, looking kindly at Cary, and 
pressing the hand which Cary offered, since it 
seemed to be expected of her, though a servant 
of this type had never come her way before. 
"Then I married Jim Stacy and after three 
years he died, too. I've been with my sister 
Euth till now, and I never thought I should take 
to living out again, but when it comes to 
Charlie 's family and the old house I know from 
top to bottom, — why, if you want me, Miss Anne, 
I guess we can come to terms. ' ' 

"Want you?" sighed Mrs. Dexter. "Here I 
have been wondering how in the world I should 
ever look after this big house. We Ve lived in 
an apartment so long, and managed with just 
somebody coming in, or with one maid, who 
didn't know how to do much, — oh, Lizzie, it 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 43 

seems too good to be true ! And I never could 
keep house like other people.' ' 

Lizzie gave an amused and rather indulgent 
glance round the disordered room. "I know, 
Miss Anne, I know. I remember how you had 
to 'tend to the poppies and run out whenever a 
thrush called. But you were a good cook," she 
added kindly. 

"Oh, I can cook if I have to," agreed Mrs. 
Dexter, "but it's the having to that I don't 
like. And Cary's growing up and she'll want 
me to be conventional and keep house like other 
people." 

Lizzie laughed. "Never you mind, Miss 
Anne," she said. "You sit down and paint all 
the pictures you like. I'll just step out and 
get word to Ruth to send my trunk along, and 
then I'll pitch in here and straighten things. 
What time do you want dinner and have you 
ordered it?" 

Cary left her mother planning eagerly with 
this welcome visitor from the past, and went 
on exploring. To have the former servant of 
the house turn up and wish to share their home- 
making was a bit of good-luck that Cary natu- 



44 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

rally appreciated less than her mother, who al- 
ready saw the difficulties of getting satisfactory 
help in a country town. But she was quite un- 
prepared to have her father, on hearing the 
news, give a shout of real boyish joy and rush 
for the kitchen to welcome the old-time servant 
and friend. 

Cary continued her explorations. The short 
hall from the dining-room led to a side entrance, 
and to the back stairs. The second floor com- 
prised five large sleeping-rooms, the one over 
the kitchen having no less than six windows, 
east, west and north. From the twin beds and 
other articles, Cary saw that her parents had 
taken this for their own and in the little one 
adjoining, Christine's tiny possessions were be- 
stowed. Cary looked into a well-equipped bath- 
room and into a big linen-closet, then inspected 
anxiously the other rooms, wondering which 
was meant for her, but before she detected any- 
thing to indicate that the matter was settled, 
her mother came flying up-stairs. 

4 'Oh, you are wondering which is your room. 
Which do you like best? You are to have your 
choice. ' ' 

Cary wandered from one to another of the 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 45 

three. The two big front rooms had each four 
windows, the little west one but two. The 
southeast room possessed a fireplace with fas- 
cinating side-cupboards ; the one across the hall 
looked down to the river and the sunset; the 
little west room had delightful old-fashioned 
picture paper above a paneled wainscot. 

" Which was Daddy's room?" Cary finally 
asked. 

i * The one we have taken, ' ' her mother replied, 
"the big one over the kitchen. " 

This basis of decision rendered useless, Cary 
inspected the three rooms again. "I'll take 
this," she finally announced, after viewing the 
southwest one inch by inch. "No, it hasn't any 
fireplace, and I know those cupboards are dear, 
but don't you see, Mammy, the butterfly is be- 
low my window ! ' ' 

"Of course !" agreed her mother, understand- 
ing at once, though to her mind the room was the 
least attractive of the three. "We will always 
remember that the butterfly is outside. Muslin 
curtains will make the windows less stiff and 
you needn't have these old pictures unless you 
like. ' ' 

Cary inspected minutely the old-fashioned 



46 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

mahogany-framed oil paintings. One repre- 
sented a ship in a storm tossing violently on 
petrified high-running waves, another depicted 
an Arab bestriding a white steed with delicately 
arched neck and flowing tail. The third was 
a marvelous combination of high mountain and 
dashing river with a level field on the edge of 
a precipice where ladies strolled attired in hoop- 
skirts, accompanied by gentlemen in tall hats 
gallantly holding minute parasols over the heads 
of their companions. 

"Mother, I wouldn't have these taken away 
for anything !" Cary announced delightedly. 
"Oh, I know they are dreadful, but somehow 
they belong here. There'll be plenty of room 
for my things, too. Isn't there any closet? 
What's this!" 

She dashed across the room to a mountain of 
mahogany and opened its doors, to disclose two 
little closets evidently for the reception of gar- 
ments. The rest of the furniture consisted of 
an enormous mahogany sleigh bed, a handsome 
bureau, table, rocking-chair and three straight 
chairs. Its floor, painted green, was partly 
covered by matting of a curious and interesting 
weave. 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 47 

"The room can be made extremely attrac- 
tive," said Mrs. Dexter. "The paper is unob- 
trusive and the pattern good, while the view 
is furniture in itself. There's no running 
water, Cary, but you can either use your wash- 
stand or go to the bathroom. Wonderful to 
say, there is a set-bowl in our room. ,, 

Cary looked at the wash-stand for the first 
time, saw its glass top over quaint cretonne, its 
clear glass bowl and pitcher. "I like this, 
Mammy," she announced, "only I'm afraid 
I'll smash these things." 

"Indeed, you mustn't," said her mother. 
"That toilet set is really choice. You will be 
careful, won't you, Cary?" 

1 l Yes, Mammy, ' ' said her daughter promptly. 
"How could Cousin Anthony not simply love 
this place?" she went on. 

"I don't know," said Mrs. Dexter reflec- 
tively. "Your father and he were in college 
together and I imagine Anthony cared so much 
for Charles that he would not make a bad mat- 
ter worse by living here. " 

"And what is there in the attic?" asked 
Cary, as they arrived at the stairs leading to 
the third story. 



48 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Two rooms for servants," replied her 
mother, "and two storerooms, as I suppose, 
which seem to be locked, though I expect the 
keys are on the bunch given us by Anthony's 
agent, and a room that was fitted up with tools 
and used by your father as a workshop. Oh, 
there is a big water-tank, which has to be filled 
every other day." 

Cary ran up-stairs, looked into the tool-room, 
still furnished with bench and vise, and shelves 
containing boxes of nails and choice bits of 
wood ; peeped into the tank where the water re- 
flected her inquisitive face from its dark sur- 
face; tried the two locked doors. 

"I suppose that rag doll is shut up behind one 
of them," she said as she rejoined her mother. 
"I'm crazy to see her. May we look for her 
this afternoon?" 

"Why don't you save both the desk and the 
attic for a rainy day?" asked Mrs. Dexter. 

"Well, I will," said Cary. "I never was in 
such a fascinating house before. Isn't it just 
lovely, Mammy?" 

"Yes, it is," assented her mother, "and it is 
exasperating as well, because it is such a com- 
bination of things that are really good and beau- 



CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 49 

tiful and others that are ugly and comfortable. 
If only it were truly ours, we could make a 
charming home of it." 

"Ugly!" said Cary, the word recalling some- 
thing to her mind. "Mammy mine, have you 
seen that High School? And did you ever look 
upon anything so horrible I" 

"The exterior doesn't prevent its being a 
good school so far as education goes," replied 
Mrs. Dexter. "And the people here seem to 
think a great deal of it and to feel so proud of 
the boys and girls it has sent into the world. 
Of course it is not like the school you have left 
but it does rank well. Be careful not to criti- 
cize, Cary, especially before you know anything 
about it. Daddy might feel sensitive, you 
know, because it is his old school." 

A decided premonition that she certainly 
shouldn't be able to endure that building was 
creeping over Cary, but there would be time 
enough to confront that fearful feeling when 
Monday really came. She slipped out of her 
traveling suit, and presently, after a bath and 
fresh clothes, went down to investigate the 
garden. Through some shrubbery she caught 
sight of a canoe drawn up on the bank, and at 



50 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

once turned in that direction, anxious to dis- 
cover whether Daddy had thoughtfully pro- 
vided one for family use. 



CHAPTER IV 

NEW FRIENDS 

The distance across the lawn to the bank of 
the river was shorter than Cary anticipated, 
and she was at the top of the slope, beyond re- 
treat, before she saw that the canoe had just 
been vacated by two girls of her own age and a 
boy slightly older. Having dipped a can of 
water from the river, he was gazing intently 
into it. At Gary's sudden appearance, both 
girls turned and the boy looked up. 

"Oh, are you Cary Dexter ?" asked the taller 
of the two, stepping forward with outstretched 
hand. "We were coming to see you this after- 
noon, — we really didn't intend to call quite so 
early as this. I'm Janet Chapin, and this is 
Amy Richards, and her brother Cutler." 

Amy smiled and Cutler, lifting a pair of the 
blackest eyes Cary had ever seen, made her a 
stiff bow. He was tall, thin, and so alertly 
poised that he made her think of an Indian. 
Amy, as Cary found out later, looked like her 
plump, fair mother. At first sight, strangers 

51 



52 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

always refused to believe that the two could 
be brother and sister. 

Janet was not exactly pretty, but as Cary later 
reported to an interested family, she had 
" style," and most people found her animated 
face very attractive, for though her mouth was 
big, a frequent smile revealed fine teeth and her 
dark wavy hair parted prettily above eyes that 
were either hazel, gray, or green according to 
the light and the frock Janet happened to be 
wearing. 

"I'm ever so glad to see you," said Cary 
heartily, for she liked the look of all three. 
"No, I came only this morning, but Mother 
and Father have been here more than two 
weeks." 

"Yes, we've met them," said Amy. "They 
were at church Sunday. And I think you will 
be with Janet and me in the sophomore class. 
Cutler's a junior." 

Cary sat down eagerly on the bank. "Do 
tell me about that school," she exclaimed. "Is 
it anything like a city one?" 

"Well, I've never been to a city school," re- 
plied Amy, looking with admiration at Cary's 
pretty green linen dress. It was as simple as 



NEW FRIENDS 53 

her own in cut and material, but somebody's 
artistic fingers had added a touch of gay em- 
broidery on pockets and belt, giving an air of 
distinction to a very inexpensive garment. 
Moreover, it was extremely becoming to Cary 's 
slight figure, her brown hair, and the eyes she 
scornfully characterized as " yellow.' ' 

"It's an uncommonly good school," remarked 
Cutler suddenly. * ' Father says it is one of the 
best in New England." 

"But the building looks so queer from the 
outside," said Cary. "Perhaps it's nicer in- 
side." 

"Oh, the building, — " said Cutler medita- 
tively. He turned toward Cary and, as she af- 
terwards reported to her mother, looked at her 
as though she wasn't there. After that one 
glance, he paid no attention to the girls but 
went on dipping his tin into the river, looking 
searchingly at its contents, only to empty it 
again and repeat the process. 

"The building isn't specially nice," said 
Janet, "but I don't know that I ever thought 
much about it. People are so pleased that your 
father has come back as principal. Don't you 
think you'll like Ridgefield?" 



54 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

' ' Oh, I guess so, ' ' said Cary. ' l What is there 
to do, outside of school, I mean?" 

' ' A great deal, ' ' said Amy. i ' There 's always 
the river, and picnics and our school entertain- 
ments, and a lot going on at the church, and 
the snow-shoeing and tobogganing are fine in 
winter. And then we're doing Red Cross work, 
you know. ' ' 

"But aren't there any theaters or concerts ?" 
asked Cary. 

"N-no," said Amy doubtfully, "only those 
we get up ourselves. But there are movies 
once a week, and sometimes they are very good. 
There are two musical clubs and we do have 
concerts." 

There was just the least little change in Amy's 
tone as she replied, and Cutler looked up again. 
Cary suddenly understood. No, she was not 
going to pose as the sophisticated city visitor 
who would despise all country amusements. If 
a thought of the pleasures she was used to in 
her former home crossed her mind, she could 
not be blamed for that, but she would not let 
them know what she was thinking. 

i ' Snow-shoeing f ' ' she repeated. ' ' That '11 be 
fine. And isn't there skating, too, here on the 



NEW FRIENDS 55 

river? Is it deep enough for swimming ?" 
" Gracious, yes," said Janet, pushing back 
her heavy hair. "That is, in spots, and it's 
best to know how, because when you do upset, 
you can't always choose your spot. But we 
skate more often on Crystal Lake, for the ice is 
smoother. Wouldn't you like to go canoeing 
with us this afternoon?" she asked. "Amy 
and I are going up the river to a place where 
some especially pretty goldenrod grows, to get 
some for church to-morrow." 

"I'd love to," Cary responded promptly. 
"Oh, I'm quite sure I may. Could you just 
wait while I run in and ask Mother whether she 
will want me? I haven't unpacked and things 
aren't settled, but if she's going to paint, she'll 
forget about doing anything else." 

Cary started on a run for the house, leaving 
a surprised trio behind her. A mother who 
stopped to paint, with a partly settled house 
about her, was new to all. Yet nobody felt crit- 
ical, for they had seen Anne Dexter 's vivid face 
at church and already recognized the charm of 
her personality. Her daughter had the same 
quick way of moving and speaking and pos- 
sessed a certain daintiness in every action, 



56 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

which they were to learn was characteristic of 
Cary. 

Mrs. Dexter assented promptly to the plan. 
She was anxious that Cary should make friends 
quickly, and Cary came flying back to report. 

"We'll start about three/ ' said Amy, the 
faint shadow of doubt completely gone from her 
voice. "We will be paddling upstream any- 
way and can pick you up here. It's fine that 
you can go." 

The girls stepped back into the canoe and 
Cutler emptied his tin for the last time. 

"Would you mind telling me," Cary asked po- 
litely, "what you expect to find in that water?" 

Cutler surveyed her with a steady look. In 
spite of herself, Cary could not keep her lips 
quite straight, for his performances with the 
tin can struck her as extremely funny. Cutler 
had intended to give a plain answer, but some- 
thing in her expression made him change his 
mind. 

"Not at all," he replied with equal courtesy. 
"I was looking for the immature forms of 
Culex pungens." 

Amy gave a surprised gasp as her brother 
pushed the canoe from the bank, with a skill- 




Would you mind telling me what you expect to find in that 

water ? " — Page 56. 



NEW FRIENDS 57 

ful twist that took it full into the current. 
11 You're as bad as Van," Cary heard her pro- 
test as they drifted quickly beyond hearing. 

"Now. what did I do to make him sav that?" 
thought Cary. ''And who is Van?" 

Cary found an answer to both questions that 
afternoon when they had paddled up to a hilly 
slope rather far above the town, and filled their 
arms with great featheiy bunches of the ''pret- 
tiest goldenrod in Vermont," as Janet ferv- 
ently styled it. Cary was not especially experi- 
enced in goldenrod, but she admitted it to be 
verv bushv and verv golden, and she wished 
that her mother could see Janet, who happened 
to be wearing a yellow and white gingham dress, 
standing in the sunshine with her arms loaded. 

Going up the river in itself proved rather 
exciting, for they took a short-cut through the 
meadow where the water was shallow, stuck 
on a sand-bar and had to get out and wade. 
Cary enjoyed the experience, and pulled off 
shoes and stockings so promptly that both her 
new friends dubbed her good sport and were 
ready before the afternoon shadows grew long, 
to vote the daughter of the new principal a real 
acquisition to Eidgefield. As they wandered 



58 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

back toward the canoe, Janet stopped to look 
under a white birch. 

"We came up here last July," she said, "and 
I found a family of baby hermit thrushes some- 
where round here. Ah, here is the empty nest. 
They were very wide-throated and pin-feathery 
then, but I suppose that now they are lovely 
voices in the woods. Oh, Amy, do you remem- 
ber the whippoorwills ? " 

"Don't I!" sighed Amy, with feeling. 

"They were dreadful this summer," Janet 
went on to Cary. "You've heard them, 
haven't you, nights in the country? Well, all 
through July, there were two that came down 
from the Eidge every night as regular as the 
clock. One had a pleasant, rather musical 
voice, and he always came between eight and 
nine, and we named him Peter Pan. We really 
enjoyed Peter. But the other was a terrible 
bird, that got wound up and went on forever. 
His name was Willful Willie, and he invariably 
turned up about two in the morning. This 
sounds like a large story, but truly, one night, 
by actual count, he shrieked ' Whip-poor-will,' 
fifteen hundred and nine times, with breaks of 



NEW FRIENDS 59 

only a few seconds between! In one of those 
pauses, when the sudden silence fairly hurt 
one's ears, a pewee said 'Please!' in an almost 
human tone of protest. But Willie didn't 
please; he started again. My brother was so 
exasperated that he shouted 'Shut up!' and 
woke my little sister, the only person in the 
house who wasn't already awake. We were 
all thankful when Willie finally moved on to a 
different place. Would you like to paddle bow 
going home?" she ended. 

44 Oh, I'd love to," said Cary. "Tell me if I 
don't do it right." 

' ' Let 's take this goldenrod right to the church 
and arrange it now," suggested Amy, as they 
settled themselves in the canoe, piled high with 
feathery blossoms. 

"And let's hope and pray that after we've 
put it in vases, Mrs. Baker will let it alone," 
sighed Janet, as she dipped her paddle. "Last 
September, Cary, we came for the goldenrod, 
Amy and I, and arranged it so prettily in 
church, three brass vases all a wonder of yel- 
low. The altar hangings are green and gold, 
too, and the whole effect was lovely and artis- 



60 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

tic. We were so pleased with it and were look- 
ing forward to having people tell us after serv- 
ice how pretty the flowers looked. 

4 * That Sunday,* ' continued Janet, "I was 
rather late getting to church and when I came 
in I had the shock of my life. Poor, dear Mrs. 
Baker, who is just as good and kind as she can 
be, had brought a bunch of late gladioli, the 
ugliest magenta shade you ever saw or can 
imagine, and substituted it for the center vase 
of goldenrod. The contrast of colors fairly 
filled the church and hit everybody on the head. 
It was terrible. I didn't dare look across at 
Amy for a long time. ' * 

"If she'd only taken away all the goldenrod, 
it wouldn't have mattered so much," observed 
Amy. "It was her leaving any that made it 
so bad." 

"But why did she change it at all, when you 
had it arranged?" asked Cary. "Was it any 
of her business?" 

"Oh, well," said Amy, "strictly speaking, it 
wasn't, but what was the use of making a fuss? 
She thought it was beautiful. And in a little 
town like this you have to work with all sorts 
of people in church and not care what they do. 



NEW FRIENDS 61 

If you stop to care, you'd never get anything 
done, and Mrs. Baker helps ever so much, really 
helps, I mean. Janet and I had to swallow our 
rage and keep still. But it won't happen to- 
morrow, because Mrs. Baker's bulbs didn't do 
well." 

"She may have some magenta asters," ob- 
served Janet gloomily. 

"It will be all right if she has," reassured 
Amy, "for Father knew we were disappointed 
that time and when I told him we were going 
to try the goldenrod again, he said he'd have 
any other flowers that came put on the reading- 
desk. That's good of Father for he doesn't 
like a vase there very well, because ever since 
Van knocked it off, he always expects the choir 
to tip it over in passing." 

"Please, who is Van?" asked Gary. 

"My younger brother, Evan," replied Amy 
with a sigh. Cary soon found that Amy always 
sighed when she spoke of Van. "He enters 
High School this fall. He is a very queer boy 
and a great trial." 

"And great fun," put in Janet, smiling. "I 
can't imagine Ridgefield without Van Rich- 
ards." 



62 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"It would be something like an animal show 
with the monkey left out," agreed Amy re- 
signedly. 

"Mother often savs that Van should have 
been her child, and May your mother's," said 
Janet. "Then our home would have been all 
uproar and the rectory a spot of calm. But 
Van is a dear, — I'm not going to have him 
slandered," she ended. 

"All the same, Janet, you wouldn't enjoy liv- 
ing with him. Only this morning I opened the 
refrigerator and right next to the butter dish 
lay a disgusting dead English sparrow. Van 
shot it with his air gun and was going to take 
it over for Xed Babcock's pet fox, but of course 
he had to put it in the ice chest until he was 
ready to go. He said Foxy's fresh meat must 
be kept cool, but Mother made him take it 
straight out and wash the refrigerator with a 
disinfectant. Van truly is a dreadful boy." 

"I think he must be great sport," laughed 
Carv. "I've alwavs wished for a brother, but 
my only one died when he was just a baby and 
I was too little even to remember him. Is your 
other brother like Van?" 

"Xo, thank goodness!" said Amy energetic- 



NEW FRIENDS 63 

ally. "Cutler is like other people. I don't 
know what made him so impolite to you this 
morning, Cary. He might just as well have told 
you that he was looking for mosquito wrigglers. 
He has some theory about them, what, I don't 
know, but he goes round hunting everywhere 
for them. He could have explained, and I told 
him he was rude." 

"Oh, I didn't care," said Cary. "Perhaps 
he thought I was making fun of him. But to 
go back to the goldenrod. I still don't see why 
you should let Mrs. Baker upset your plans and 
never say one word." 

"Well," Janet answered, "Amy couldn't 
say anything, because being the rector's 
daughter, she's in a sort of semi-official posi- 
tion, and just then I was feeling sensitive on 
account of Mrs. Baker's yellow kitten. Will 
you paddle just a little slower, Cary? It's 
rather difficult to keep time when you work so 
fast. ' ' 

"Her yellow kitten?" repeated the mystified 
Cary, as she adapted her stroke to Janet's re- 
quest. 

"It was this way," Janet began. "Mr. and 
Mrs. Baker left town the early part of last Sep- 



64 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

tember for ten days and Mrs. Baker asked me 
to take care of her pet kitten. I said I would 
and the morning she left she brought it over. 
It was a dear little thing, just as clean and as 
pretty as could be and I didn't wonder she 
thought so much of it. While she was telling 
me just what it was to have to eat, it wandered 
out of the room. I didn't think about it, be- 
cause you have to listen very closely when Mrs. 
Baker talks, in order to get in the right answer 
when she does stop. It must have been twenty 
minutes that we stood in the hall and then she 
went, and I started to look for the kitten. 

"That dreadful little cat," Janet went on 
impressively, "was in the empty kitchen, all 
balled up in a sheet of sticky flypaper! And 
there was Mrs. Baker still in sight from the 
window ! I had a terrible time. I couldn 't pull 
the paper off without taking fur and skin too, 
and I didn't know what to do. May was so 
distressed that she was crying; she's only ten 
years old," Janet explained. "Luckily my 
brother Arthur came in just then. He had been 
at Plattsburg all summer and was home for 
a few days before college began. He thought 
grease would be the best thing to try, so we 



NEW FRIENDS 65 

used almost half a can of Crisco on that kitten. 

''When we got through, the cat looked like 
nothing you can imagine, but most of the sticky 
stuff was off, and it was merelv ereasv. We 
were all perfectly exhausted and we put the 
little thing down cellar and forgot it till Mother 
came home from Burlington where she'd been 
shopping. That was about six. and quite soon 
she asked whether Mrs. Baker brought the kit- 
ten. We told her what had happened and she 
wanted to see it at once, so Arthur went for it. 

"The minute he started." Janet went on with 
a smile. ; 'I had a sudden conviction that we'd 
better have put it into the barn or the garage, 
but it was too late. We heard Arthur laugh- 
ing in the cellar and then he came up with that 
terrible little animal. It had gone into the coal- 
bin, all srreasv as it was and it looked like a wet 
grimy black rat. By the way. its ridiculous 
name was Shinv Pennv. 

•'May began to cry again, and I felt like it 
myself, ' ? Janet admitted. ''Now. it sounds 
funnv but it was anvthing but funnv then. 
Mother said Arthur and I were perfectly crazy 
to have put it in the cellar: Father said we 
should have used alcohol in the beginning, and 



66 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

May fairly howled because she was so sorry for 
the kitten and she didn't think it would ever 
be clean again. 

"We had a dreadful time. Next morning, 
Mother and I washed it with soap and water 
but that didn't seem to make it the original color, 
and Mother was so afraid it would take cold 
that we had to rub it with bath towels and keep 
it in the sun and nurse it generally for hours. 
But still it wasn't clean. We tried alcohol and 
that made it sick. May tried to whiten it with 
the stuff intended for canvas shoes, with the re- 
sult that it had to be washed again. Arthur 
said the only solution was to dye it black and 
return it to Mrs. Baker as the latest fashionable 
color in cats. Well, to cut a long story short, 
we worked over that kitten every day Mrs. 
Baker was gone, and just two hours before she 
was expected home, we got it so it looked clean 
and nice as when she brought it. I wonder it 
survived. ' ' 

" So do I, " laughed Cary. 

"It was thin," said Janet, "so we gave it a 
saucer of cream which puffed it up a good deal. 
It really was very cunning and was used to 
being petted, but it was so dirty that we couldn 't 



NEW FRIENDS 67 

enjoy it, and I guess it was as glad to get home 
as we were to have it go. But you understand 
now why I didn 't feel like saying anything about 
Mrs. Baker's flowers. That was the Sunday 
after the kitten went home, you see." 



CHAPTER V 

RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 

Cary's pleasant afternoon on the river was 
followed by a pleasant Sunday when she woke 
to the golden light of a beautiful September 
morning, with curious reflected waves from the 
river dancing on the ceiling of her room. 

At church, where she went with Mother and 
Daddy, she found herself looking almost with 
an air of proprietorship at the flowers in 
the chancel, feathery plumes above the gold- 
embroidered green hangings and against the 
gray-green arch. Mercifully, Mrs. Baker had 
intruded no other decorations to spoil the 
charmingly artistic effect, but Cary smothered 
a smile as she imagined how those magenta 
gladioli must have looked. 

After service, so many people came to greet 
her parents that it seemed quite as though a 
reception was going on. Later in the day, such 

a procession of callers drifted through the com- 

68 



RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 69 

bined library and studio, that Cary, kept busy 
supplying her mother with fresh tea and addi- 
tional cups, thought gleefully that life in the 
Butterfly House promised friends and excite- 
ment almost equal to the city. And then fol- 
lowed a long delightful evening, while she curled 
in a corner of the couch before the open fire and 
listened dreamily while Daddy read poetry 
aloud. 

But Monday morning was a different affair. 
Cary's worst anticipations were realized when 
with Amy and Janet she walked up the avenue 
of pines leading to the High School, appreciat- 
ing as she did so, the kindness of the girls in 
stopping for her, lest she feel lonely or left 
out among the chattering groups. 

They took Cary into the building by a base- 
ment entrance, leading to a room where outer 
garments were disposed upon hooks in long 
rows. At the door stood a pleasant-faced 
young teacher, directing each student to the sec- 
tion designed for her class. Hanging up wraps 
took but a second when one had only a light 
sweater to shed, and Cary had opportunity to 
notice the worn, discolored floor, and bare walls 
lighted by small, high windows. It really was 



70 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

the "cellar" she styled it, but there was little 
time for criticism, for the file of girls coming in, 
left by an opposite door and disappeared up a 
flight of battered stairs. 

Presently Cary found herself on a settee in 
a big hall and she was justified in thinking it a 
rather dreadful place, for its walls and ceiling 
were a distressing shade of blue kalsomine, blis- 
tered and flaked with the passing of many years, 
and further disfigured by a pattern of stenciled 
scallop-shells, looking exactly like large mustard 
plasters applied at methodical intervals. 

Being only fifteen, Cary did not notice the 
beautiful view framed by each window, nor 
appreciate that the pictures hung on their ap- 
palling background were fine photographic re- 
productions, nor realize that the casts at either 
side of the platform were well-chosen. In fact, 
her mood of disgust and disappointment deep- 
ened till she was engulfed by a great wave of 
longing for the school exchanged for this. 

Yet she had come to Ridgefield determined to 
make the best of things and to get all the fun 
and pleasure possible from the experience. 
Presently she remembered her mother 's caution 



RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 71 

about judging hastily and began to look about 
her. 

Having never attended a mixed school before, 
the boys across the aisle came in for a share of 
her inspection, and presently Cary's spirits be- 
gan to rise, for both boys and girls bore such 
scrutiny rather well. Ridgefield boasted not a 
few families of genuine cultivation, as Cary al- 
ready knew from the stream of callers flowing 
through her home on the previous afternoon, 
people just as delightful as their city friends. 
Then there were many comfortable, well-to-do 
families where the children were being given a 
better chance than their parents, and lastly 
came pupils from the real country homes, which 
form the backbone of old New England. 

Cary saw frank, manly faces among the boys, 
attractive girlish ones about her. There was a 
pleasant spirit of comradeship as of those who 
knew one another well through both play and 
work, and in boys and girls alike, there was an 
absence of self-consciousness that spoke well for 
the school atmosphere. 

Mr. Dexter saw this, though his daughter did 
not, and his satisfaction with what his experi- 



72 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

enced eyes read in the young faces before him, 
helped him to address the school with genuine 
interest. At first, Cary listened critically, then 
with growing admiration. Dad was great fun 
and good sport as a comrade; she really hadn't 
known he could talk like this, — hold the atten- 
tion of every one in the hall. If he succeeded 
in making the school reach his ideals for the 
year's work, — why, it might not be such an im- 
possible place after all! 

So Cary admitted to herself, and her admira- 
tion for her father increased with the passing 
hours, leaving her to go home at noon much hap- 
pier than she had thought possible that morn- 
ing, even ready to admit that the Ridgefleld 
High School had its good points. 

Mrs. Dexter awaited rather anxiously her 
daughter's arrival. Cary would appear, either 
very enthusiastic or in a fit of the blues, no be- 
tweens for her. But she came dancing in after 
parting with Amy at the gate, in the best of 
spirits. 

"Here I am, Mammy," she called gayly. 
"Oh, such a funny morning and such a queer 
school, but I think I shall like it after I get used 
to all the differences. Daddy was simply great ! 



RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 73 

You never told me he could talk like that. Why, 
before he finished, I felt that my one ambition 
on earth was to be an honored alumnus, or is it 
alumna? — of the Ridgefield High School. And 
I like the girls. Janet and Amy introduced me 
to everybody. Do you know, Janet's brother is 
in the aviation section? She told me about him 
at recess and says he writes the most interest- 
ing letters. Everybody was nice to me," Cary 
went on with genuine conviction. "It seems 
odd to have boys in the classes, but Janet says 
it makes things more interesting. Somehow I 
didn't suppose that in a little town like this the 
teachers would be as good as at home, but every 
single one is a college graduate, and really nice, 
our kind, Mammy. And people seem so inter- 
ested in our being here. I went into the drug- 
store to buy a toothbrush, and two ladies spoke 
to me, because they knew I must be Daddy's 
daughter." 

Mrs. Dexter had been working at her easel 
while Cary chattered, touching with skilled fin- 
gers the design for a magazine cover growing 
upon it. Marriage had not choked her one 
great talent, only given it opportunity for more 
luxuriant growth, for she found her husband 



74 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

willing and glad that she should use her brush, 
tremendously interested in everything she did, 
very proud of her accomplishment and her 
steadily growing artistic reputation. She stood 
regarding her picture and smiling at her daugh- 
ter 's tale. 

"Oh, I'm glad you didn't find things so bad 
as you feared," she said. "The school plays a 
big part in the life of a little place like this. I 
know you will enjoy it, Cary." 

The gate clicked and a girl came up the walk, 
shyly and rather hesitatingly. Mrs. Dexter, 
casting a glance through the window, stopped, 
brush poised in her hand. 

"Oh, Cary," she said softly, "what a picture! 
Is she one of the High School students ? ' ' 

Cary half rose from the couch where she was 
lounging, and looked at the approaching visitor. 
"That red-headed girl?" she asked. "Yes, she 
was in school this morning, for I noticed her 
hair. ' ' 

Mrs. Dexter 's wide gray eyes were bent on 
the new-comer, admiration and artistic appre- 
ciation plainly indicated by their expression. 
"Oh, I must paint her!" she exclaimed in a 
whisper and then her face changed to a smile 



RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 75 

of welcome. She moved swiftly forward as the 
girl paused at the open door. 

Candace Halliday, conscious of her cheap, ill- 
fitting shoes and home-made dress, saw a gra- 
cious vision clad in a Dutch blue smock. 

"Is Mr. Dexter here?" she began, half -stam- 
mering. 

1 i Oh, you wanted my husband ? School closed 
early and he hasn't come yet. I imagine he has 
been detained. Come in, won y t you ? Probably 
you met my daughter this morning. ' ' 

Cary rose, not with special courtesy, for she 
saw no reason for Mother's enthusiasm. The 
girl's hair was pretty, — if you liked that color, 
— her eyes were unusual and her complexion 
peachy, but her clothes were simply impossible, 
and she acted as though she lived in the back- 
woods. 

"I guess I'd better not stop. It was only a 
book — " hesitated Candace, but while she tar- 
ried, a miracle happened, managed by Anne 
Dexter, who had never been self-conscious in 
her life. Before Candace knew what was taking 
place, she was seated in a deep chair, watching 
with fascinated eyes the careful, sure touches 
being made to the picture on the easel; telling 



76 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

her name and of the little house on Thorn. 
Then Mr. Dexter came, slamming the front gate 
and running into the house like a boy. 

" Do you know," he exclaimed as he greeted 
Candace, "I wanted to speak to you at school 
this morning but somehow missed you. I'm al- 
most sure you are Andrew Halliday's daugh- 
ter." 

"Yes," replied Oandace, coloring so prettily 
that Mrs. Dexter longed more than ever to 
transfer her to canvas. "I — I hoped you'd re- 
member him." 

"I'm not likely to forget," said Mr. Dexter 
with real feeling. "Andrew and I were fond 
of each other as boys, and I was truly grieved 
to know of his death, Candace. You must let 
us see a good deal of his daughter." 

"Take off your hat, Candace, and stay to 
lunch with us," said the wonderful lady with the 
blue smock and the starry eyes. 

"Oh, I — I couldn't," stammered Candace, 
"Granny would worry if I am late. It was 
only about the books for French — I hope you 
don't mind my coming here to ask, but I wanted 
to know how much it was going to cost?" She 
rose uneasily. 



RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 77 

Mr. Dexter looked puzzled. "I'm afraid I 
don't understand," he said. 

"You see," Candace began, "in the second 
year, you can take French if you want to, — 
you don't have to. But the French books, — do 
they cost much?" 

Mr. Dexter thought rapidly. As quickly as 
his wife, he recognized the girl's amazing 
beauty, saw her poor clothes, but he also read 
in her eager face and questioning eyes the hun- 
ger for knowledge. That morning in the hall 
he noticed her almost at once, for among eighty 
girls who sat more or less conscious of their col- 
lars, their ribbons and their fresh frocks, this 
girl with the wonderful hair kept her eyes fixed 
on his face, unmindful of anything but his 
words. 

"The first book needed will be furnished by 
the school department, ' ' he replied. ' ' The texts 
used later are issued in cheap paper editions." 

"Oh, thank you," said Candace, uncon- 
sciously clasping her hands as she spoke. "I 
wanted so much to study French. ' ' 

She would not stay for luncheon, much as she 
really wished to do so, but hurried off, happy 
in the message for Granny, that Charles Dexter 



78 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

was going to climb Thorn to see her just as soon 
as he could find the time. 

" Isn't she the most glorious creature !" ex- 
claimed Mrs. Dexter, laying down her palette. 
"I shall not rest till I have her on canvas. Oh, 
but I saw through you, Charles, you fibber! 
Will your school committee back up your rash 
promises ?" 

"They will," replied her husband, laughing. 
"That's one point on which I'm determined. 
These children who want to learn are to have 
the books and the opportunity. Andrew was 
one of the boys who lacked the full chance of an 
education, for he couldn't even finish at the 
old Academy. But he was a fine fellow and if 
his daughter has inherited his longing for books, 
I'll help her to the extent of my ability. You 
shall paint her, Anne." 

"Do, Mammy, and incidentally tell her how 
to dress," said Cary. "She'd be stunning in 
brown." 

"Brown to match her hair, brown with a tinge 
of gold," mused Mrs. Dexter. "Sea-gray, 
Cary, a green-gray with a touch of turquoise. 
Oh, I should like to design a dress for her!" 

At her mother's enthusiastic tone, Cary 



RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 79 

laughed. There were times when she felt years 
older than either of her parents, — for instance 
when between them they lost all the latch-keys 
to the apartment and didn't care in the least. 
Daddy had then taken the one belonging to the 
servants' entrance and carefully attached to it 
a label, "Back Door," in order, so he explained 
to the wondering Christine, if they lost that as 
well, the finder could go around trying all the 
back doors in the world until he found the lock 
the key fitted. 



CHAPTER VI 

AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 

Before two weeks passed, Cary concluded 
that the Ridgefield High School promised to 
prove as interesting as the one she left. There 
was a certain charm about small classes, an in- 
timacy not possible in large sections, and it was 
fun gradually to know every student in the 
school, not merely those of one's own division. 
Though the building left much to be desired in 
the way of beauty, its equipment was adequate 
and the shabby old rooms decidedly comfort- 
able. Cary, used to a locker for her personal 
possessions and to journeys, sometimes long, 
about a big building to attend classes, was 
amused to find herself at an assigned desk in 
a large school-room, expected to be at said desk 
unless occupied by some recitation. The class- 
rooms afforded only settees where one must 
take notes with book resting on a knee, instead 
of the latest and most comfortable design of 

80 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 81 

desk-chair, but the notes themselves seemed 
quite as well worth the putting down as in the 
larger institution. Sooner than she would have 
thought possible, Cary found herself accepting 
the situation happily, found her recollections of 
the Girls' High School growing dim. 

Not a little of her contentment was due to her 
having so quickly found congenial friends. 
Though for a time she missed keenly the chums 
of the previous year, she liked Janet thoroughly 
and without reserve. Amy, she found a little 
harder to get acquainted with, not realizing that 
Amy, who had known and loved Janet all her 
life, found it difficult to share her friend even 
with so attractive a girl as Cary Dexter. 

"We shall have a sophomore class-meeting 
soon," Amy observed one day when she and 
Cary were sauntering homewards up Main 
Street, after leaving Janet at her gate. "It is 
high time we chose our officers. Janet stands 
a good chance of being president, unless Ned 
Babcock is elected. They spoke of you for sec- 
retary. ' ' 

" Really V 9 said Cary, secretly much pleased. 
After the excitement of being president for one 
year, the prospect of holding office, even in a 



82 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

small high school, seemed pleasant. "Who 
suggested me?" 

"I heard the girls talking about it and Van 
said Alex Lincoln spoke of several boys who 
wanted you. I think you'll be up for some- 
thing, Cary, for you see everybody knows you 
because of your father. Dear me, I wish I 
wasn't so scared of him!" 

"Afraid of Daddy?" said Cary in real amaze- 
ment. 

"Well, he isn't my father, you see. And I'm 
so stupid in algebra. I made such a mess of 
my problem this morning. ' ' 

"So did I," Cary acknowledged. "I'm not 
so quick in mathematics as I ought to be. But 
Daddy explained it to you. ' ' 

"I know he did," said Amy. "He didn't 
make me feel an insignificant worm either, the 
way Miss Hathaway does. She glares so if the 
least little Latin ending is wrong. ' ' 

"She's a very fine teacher, though," said 
Cary, who happened to be good at languages. 
"Much better than the one who taught Latin 
in my last school. ' ' 

"I heard her having a row with Van this 
morning," sighed Amy. "He sits in her room, 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 83 

and I 'm sorry for her. I was passing the door 
and heard her say : i Evan Richards, stop talk- 
ing and get into your desk this minute !' " 

"I suppose he was out of order," said 
Cary, laughing as she spoke, for like Janet, she 
found Amy's young brother most amusing. 
Van possessed an animated, dark face that 
could be either a living question-mark, or an 
absolute blank according to the needs of the mo- 
ment. Overgrown, awkward and painfully 
thin, though his distressed mother did her best 
to satisfy an appetite that could consume any 
kind and any amount of food, Van looked as 
though a strong wind had shaped his contours. 

"No doubt he was doing something he 
shouldn't," Amy agreed, "but he replied as 
sweet as honey, 'Why, Miss Hathaway, I 
couldn't possibly get into my desk!' " 

"Of course she should have said 'seat,' " 
agreed the amused Cary. "What happened 
then?" 

"She laughed; she couldn't help it," replied 
Amy gloomily. "Van does say such queer 
things. The freshmen are having Greek his- 
tory and mythology and they came to where 
Perseus changes the sea-monster into stone by 



84 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

showing him the head of Medusa. Van told 
Miss Appleton that Perseus missed the chance 
of his life by not hanging on to that head, merely 
as a business proposition. He could have made 
all the statues he wanted just by freezing into 
marble every good-looking person he met, and 
since they would be much more natural and 
life-like than any sculptor, — even Phidias, — 
could carve, Perseus might have made a great 
deal of money. I heard about it afterwards, ' ' 
Amy concluded. "I always do hear all the 
strange things Van says. Everybody takes 
pleasure in saving them up to tell me. ' ' 

"But that was clever," laughed Cary. 

"Clever, yes," Amy assented, "but I'd be 
satisfied if he wasn't so clever. Cary, did you 
ever see such a shark at lessons as Candace Hal- 
liday ? Is there anything she doesn 't learn bet- 
ter than all the rest of us?" 

"She is a wonder," Cary agreed. "I never 
saw any one so anxious to know the least lit- 
tle reference in every lesson. To-day when we 
were reading Tennyson's l Dream of Fair 
Women, ' I believe Candace was the only person 
in class who had traced every single allusion, 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 85 

even the ones to Queen Eleanor and Jephthah's 
daughter. ' ' 

"Yes," said Amy, "and she learned three of 
Wordsworth's sonnets, learned them just be- 
cause she wanted to, while the rest of us thought 
ourselves abused at having to memorize one." 

' ' I didn 't mind that, ' ' replied Gary. ' ' Daddy 
loves poetry and is always reading it aloud. I 
like to learn it, — I often do, — just for pleasure.' ' 

"I wish now that I hadn't chosen the sonnet 
I did," observed Amy thoughtfully. "I 
learned the one beginning: 'The world is too 
much with us,' and I like yours better." 

" ^Milton, thou shoulds't be living at this hour : 
England hath need of thee: — '■' 

quoted Cary. ' ' But, Amy, I haven 't any special 
claim on it ; it isn 't my personal property ; you 
may learn it, too. ' ' 

"Well, do you know it hadn't occurred to me 
that I could," said Amy, laughing. "I believe 
I will. dear, it's sprinkling and I know there 
will be another shower! No, I won't stop for 
an umbrella. I'll use my coat-collar for one 
and run between the drops." 



86 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Amy hurried down the street and Cary turned 
in at the Butterfly House. Though she really 
should not complain of the first showery day 
since she came to Ridgefield, her spirits sud- 
denly fell. No game of tennis this afternoon, 
no canoeing on the autumn river where at every 
bend the maples "changed from glory into 
glory." 

At luncheon Cary related Van's opinion of 
the excellent business opportunity neglected by 
Perseus, a tale which brought an amused laugh 
from both father and mother. 

"Clever child, Van," commented Mr. Dexter. 

"Amy does take him so desperately hard," 
said Cary. "She never sees how bright and 
funny he is. Janet thinks Van is a dear and 
so do I." 

"He is attractive," replied her father. "A 
pity that his parents regard him so seriously, 
for a boy like Van needs a lot of letting alone. 
He certainly doesn't shine in mathematics, but 
to me, he and Candace Halliday are the two 
students in school that, so far, stand out above 
all others." 

"Could I mention that for Amy's comfort?" 
asked Cary saucily. 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 87 

"Not spoken for publication," replied her 
father merrily. Their understanding was that 
Daddy should be perfectly free to talk about 
his work at home and that Cary should regard 
every such comment as confidential. 

"Well, all right," said his daughter. "I 
only thought it might cheer Amy. Do you 
know, Mammy, what I'm planning to do this 
afternoon while it rains? Explore the old sec- 
retary. ' ' 

"And find something nobody else could?" 
teased her father. 

"I might," said Cary stoutly. "If I were a 
girl in a book, I should, of course. But I won't 
expect to, and then I'll be surprised if I do." 

When Cary entered the study about three, it 
was empty, for Mr. Dexter had returned to 
school for a teachers' meeting. 

"First I shall look through the drawers," she 
decided, after a survey of the old secretary. 
No doubt that in itself it was a valuable piece 
of furniture, made in days when a craftsman 
wrought lovingly and honestly at his art. The 
recessed front of each drawer was cut from a 
solid slab of mahogany that in the beginning 
must have been three inches thick, to permit the 



88 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

deep gouge. Hand-carved claw-feet supported 
the desk, while sides and drop-front alike were 
magnificent slabs of handsome wood. 

"The thing must weigh a ton," thought Cary, 
finding a single drawer no light load. 

The top one was empty save for a pile of old 
photographs and an album of faded kodak pic- 
tures. At this Cary glanced with interest, rec- 
ognizing, in some of the groups, her father as 
he looked years ago. Some day she would ex- 
amine the book with greater care. 

The second drawer held an old map mounted 
on cloth and tightly rolled, a map of Ridgefield 
very early in its history. The third was empty. 
The fourth and lowest revealed a miscellaneous 
collection of objects from old buttons to a glass- 
covered box of mounted butterflies. 

Cary went through this accumulation with 
fruitless care, ending by removing all four 
drawers from their slides, heavy as they were, 
and examining the back of the cavity. It ap- 
peared perfectly solid, with nothing that invited 
further investigation. 

Having replaced the ponderous drawers, 
Cary pulled out the brass-knobbed supports to 
hold the lowered lid. The desk opened upon a 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 89 

number of small drawers with pigeon-holes 
above, and in the center a little cupboard be- 
tween delicate colonial pilasters. 

The small drawers held a rustv kev or two, 
a few old-fashioned marbles that perhaps had 
once been treasured by little Charles Dexter, an 
envelope stuffed with old postage-stamps, un- 
doubtedlv of value to a collector, two account- 

to 

books recording household expenses, a tiny bot- 
tle half full of mercury, a foot-rule, and a puzzle 
made of metal rings. 

The pigeon-holes contained several packages 
of old letters, doubtless already carefully ex- 
amined, and bundle after bundle of receipted 
bills. Nowhere did Cary find anything of in- 
terest. 

Last of all she opened the little cupboard. 
Inside was a tiny drawer and above it an empty 
space. The drawer held a quantity of loose 
pink coral beads. 

Certainly Cary found nothing to explain in 
the least why the secretary had been Aunt 
Nancy's only bequest to her nephew and 
adopted son. But Daddy had spoken of three 
secret drawers. 

r experimenting for half an hour, Cary 



90 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

found one, in the little center cupboard where a 
blank front could be moved by fingers applied 
to what, while apparently the top of the cup- 
board was really the bottom of the drawer. In 
it was a single internal revenue stamp issued 
during the Civil War. 

Cary could not find the other secret drawers, 
though both were in plain sight. She marveled 
over her blindness, when her mother, coming 
to see how her exploration was progressing, 
touched one of the little pilasters. Cary imme- 
diately discovered it to be the front of a very 
narrow drawer, the height of the column and 
the depth of the desk, but both pilaster drawers 
were empty. 

"Oh, what did Great-aunt Nancy mean?'' 
sighed Cary, resting her elbows on the shabby 
old blotter fastened to the desk lid. 

"Nobody knows," said her mother rather 
soberly, "and it is no use to wonder or to care 
about it now. Something must have gone 
wrong with whatever plan she made, for I know 
she never meant things to come out as they did. 
She was too fond of Charles for that." 

Mrs. Dexter went on into the library but Cary 
continued to sit looking into the garden, wet 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 91 

with the passing shower, though the sun now 
shone. She was disappointed over her fruitless 
search, for though she did not like to admit it, 
a little hope had lingered that the old desk 
might give up some secret. 

Through the open window drifted the pleas- 
ant scent of wet pine needles, for the day was 
warm as spring, and the air full of nice earthy 
odors. After a little Cary closed the desk and 
went into the adjoining room. There seemed 
nothing further to do or say about Aunt Nancy 's 
secretary and she would take the opportunity 
to consult her mother concerning another pro- 
ject. 

"I do think it is so queer," she began, settling 
herself in a corner of the couch, "that we 
haven't a single boy related to us, who is in 
service." 

"It is unusual,' ' agreed Mrs. Dexter, already 
intent on her drawing-board. 

"Of course," Cary went on reflectively, 
"Uncle Jack's children are too young to go, but 
I haven't even a second cousin in the army. It 
is so much more interesting to knit for some- 
body real than to turn things over to the Red 
Cross for people you never saw and who never 



92 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

saw you. Now, Mammy, please listen to me. 
Mayn't I adopt a soldier to write to and do 
things for? Janet has her brother Arthur, and 
Amy's cousin Clive is in the navy." 

Mrs. Dexter smiled but made no immediate 
answer. 

"If I had a brother or a cousin or somebody 
I knew, I would be satisfied," Cary went on. 
"But all my friends in town are too young to 
volunteer. Really, I don't know anybody, not 
even the boys Daddy knows, and he said he 
could count over seventy. Ever so many girls 
are doing it, Mammy, and I'm crazy to adopt a 
war son." 

Mrs. Dexter laid down her crayon and looked 
whimsically at her daughter. "A mother of 
sixteen to a son of twenty-two or more?" she 
asked merrily. "Oh, Cary dear, I know how 
you feel, but I wouldn't like my little girl to be 
writing to a boy she didn't know." 

"It seems as though war made it dif- 
ferent, Mammy," pleaded Cary. "Of course, I 
wouldn't do it any other time, but it's a way 
to help." 

"I don't doubt there are cases where it would 
help, but I think it is an unwise thing for any 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 93 

young girl to do. Those letters should be writ- 
ten by older women, by women really old enough 
to mother a lonely bov." 

"0 dear!" moaned Cary. "Mrs. Chapin 
said she didn't think you'd want me to do it. 
She won't let Janet even put notes in the things 
she knits, because Kitty Metcalf stuck one into 
some socks she made and the man who got them 
wrote right off and asked her to marry him. It 
would be so romantic to get a proposal from a 
man you never even heard of ! Janet and Amy 
and I thought it was most interesting, but Kitty 
was very disgusted. I guess Kitty might have 
liked it better if she wasn't already engaged to 
Anson Brooks." 

1 ' Very probably, ' ' agreed her amused mother. 
"Cary, do you remember Madam Hosmerf 
She adopted a war son, and in his reply to her 
first letter, he addressed her as ' Dearest Sylvia' 
and asked if she would visit a cabaret with him. 
Madam Hosmer, old enough to be his grand- 
mother!" 

"That was rather fresh," Cary acknowl- 
edged, "but there must be some nice boys, 
Mammy, who wouldn't take advantage." 

"Of course there are, any number of them. 



94 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Only the really nice ones might themselves feel 
scruples about corresponding with strangers." 

" Kitty was so funny about that note," Cary 
went on after a pause. "She said it was the 
second time it had happened to her. Once she 
bought a shirt-waist in a big store in Boston and 
pinned inside the sleeve was a type-written let- 
ter from a man, asking the purchaser of the 
blouse to write him with a view to matrimony. 
He told about himself and said he owned an 
automobile and a summer cottage at the sea- 
shore. That was three years ago, and Kitty 
was crazy to answer it then, — not give her real 
name, you know, but just see what would come 
of it, — but Mrs. Metcalf wouldn't let her. 
Mothers seem to be alike when it comes to really 
exciting and romantic things," Cary ended 
rather resentfully. "Of course Mrs. Metcalf 
was right about that, but it does seem as though 
war made things different. 

"But Mrs. Chapin said," Cary finally went 
on, "that if I chose to knit an aviator's helmet 
for Arthur, she knew he would be pleased to 
have me send it because he always likes Janet's 
friends. Amy is knitting socks for her cousin 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 95 

Clive, and Janet says she '11 let me help knit for 
Arthur. ' ' 

"Indeed you may," agreed Mrs. Dexter cor- 
dially. "Make the helmet by all means and 
send a nice little letter with it. I'm perfectly 
willing you should do that. ' ' 

"But I don't know Arthur any more than 
any other boy," observed Cary. 

"But you know his family and his home. I 
quite approve that plan. ' ' 

"Well-1," said Cary dubiously, "I suppose 
I could try it. Of course it isn't as good as 
having a war son, but it's better than nothing. 
What are you making, Mammy!" she added, 
coming to look over Mrs. Dexter 's shoulder. 
"Oh, isn't that lovely! I wish I could draw. 
It's terrible to have a mother who can act and 
sing and draw and paint and who always says 
the right thing to the right person, and a father 
who jokes and writes books, and not do anything 
at all myself ! ' ' 

"Oh, honey, don't make up your mind that 
you never will. It takes time to find the way 
one can best express one's self. To whom is 
Chrissy talking!" 



96 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Is she eating her supper in the dining- 
room ?" asked Cary, going to the door. "Good 
gracious ! Get out ! ' ' 

At her daughter's startled tone, Mrs. Dexter 
put down her crayon and followed. Before her 
low table by the open window sat little Chris- 
tine. On the table edge perched an enormous 
black bird, eating most appreciatively from the 
hospitable spoon Chrissy extended. As mother 
and sister watched, she refilled the spoon from 
her bowl of bread and milk, to offer it again 
to her visitor. 

"It's a tremendous crow," said Mrs. Dexter 
in a whisper. "How tame it is! It must be 
somebody's pet." 

"Chrissy doesn't seem in the least surprised 
to have it there," giggled Cary. "Wouldn't 
you think she 'd be afraid ? ' ' 

"I suppose she doesn't see anything strange 
in its coming to share her supper. Children 
live so in a world of their own. After all the 
fairy stories we tell her I suppose Chrissy 
thinks this only natural." 

For fully five minutes they watched the pretty 
picture of little Chrissy and the big black crow, 
mo3t amiably sharing a meal, Christine talking 



AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 97 

earnestly all the time. Then a door slammed 
in the kitchen ell and the intruder flew out of 
the window. 

Christine gazed after him, a troubled expres- 
sion on her face. "My sliver spoon," she mur- 
mured. "Big bird took my sliver spoon.' ' 

"Mother, he has taken her silver spoon," ex- 
claimed Cary. "He is sitting up there in the 
pine with it in his beak. Watch him while I 
get my rubbers and run out. ' ' 

High in the branches sat the intruder, holding 
the spoon safely. Cary threw up a pine cone, 
but the crow was evidently too tame and too 
much of a pet to be disturbed by such a missile, 
especially when it did not come anywhere near 
hitting him. Looking sideways at Cary, he 
transferred the spoon to the hold of one claw. 

Lizzie came from the kitchen to look and ex- 
claim in surprise, while Christine, distressed by 
the shocking conduct of her guest, began to cry. 

"He'll drop it some time," said Lizzie com- 
fortingly. "I can't be sure it'll be here, 
though," she added to Cary. "You'd better be 
ready to follow when he flies." 

Fortunately the crow seemed to have lost in- 
terest in his treasure. In a moment he spread 



98 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

his wings for flight and the spoon fell unheeded 
to the ground. 

1 ' Well, wasn't that funny !" exclaimed Cary, 
restoring her property to Christine. "Do you 
suppose he'll come again f n 

"Very likely if he is somebody's pet and lives 
near here," replied Mrs. Dexter. "We were 
lucky to get the spoon so easily. ' ' 

"He's been round before," remarked Lizzie, 
who had followed Cary into the dining-room. 
"I think he's visited my chamber, too, for some- 
body or something ate half a cake of camphor- 
ice on my wash-stand and threw my kid curlers 
out of the window. I thought maybe Chrissy 
did it, so I didn't mention it, but I think now 
it was that crow." 



CHAPTER VII 

A COMMITTEE MEETING 

As Amy prophesied, the sophomores shortly 
held a class-meeting, at which Janet was chosen 
president, Ned Babcock treasurer, and Cary 
secretary. A few thought Cary should be pres- 
ident, but the majority were loyal to Janet and 
confident of her level-headed wisdom. They 
said, too, and with justice, that Cary was a new- 
comer and it would be unfair to make her presi- 
dent because of her father's position. 

But Cary was perfectly satisfied to be secre- 
tary and her modest little speech of acceptance 
went far toward removing any prejudice 
against her, for the voting had not been unani- 
mous. To her surprise and wholly without her 
knowledge, Candace Halliday was nominated 
and ran a close second. In fact, more bovs 
voted for Candace, while the girls, other quali- 
fications being equal, permitted Cary's dainty 
frocks and greater social adaptability to turn 
the scale. 

99 



ioo AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Candace did not care at all. It would have 
been better for her had she been elected and 
thus forced into closer relation with her fellow 
students, for she was decidedly inclined to ig- 
nore the social side of school life, so intent was 
she upon getting every possible advantage from 
her work. So quickly did she condemn per- 
fectly natural youthful enthusiasms as " silly' ' 
that she was in danger of becoming a prig. 

The High School as a whole promptly dis- 
covered the charm of their principal's wife, and 
a steadily increasing number of boys and girls 
began to worship her in secret and to make her 
the central figure whenever she appeared at any 
school exercise or entertainment. Therefore it 
was not surprising that the committee appointed 
by the sophomores to get up a class frolic for 
Hallowe 'en that must be original, good fun and 
inexpensive, should turn to Mrs. Dexter for ad- 
vice, though they felt justified in asking because 
Cary was one of the committee. Candace was 
on it also, much against her will, for she and 
Larry Woods had been designated to help the 
class officers. 

" Nothing is cheap," sighed Janet, "and it's 
hard to think of anything original. There are 



A COMMITTEE MEETING 101 

just the old Hallowe'en stunts we've done for- 
ever. ' ' 

The committee, in session in the living-room 
of the Butterfly House, all looked serious. 

"Well," observed Cary, "Daddy quoted 
something the other day about love and jokes 
still being cheap; we can do things ourselves 
and make our own fun. ' ' 

"You've never tried to decorate that old 
hall," said Ned. "Do you think your mother 
would have any ideas about it, Cary?" 

"I know she will," replied Cary. "I've 
never yet asked her anything that she didn 't rise 
to the emergency. I'll go and consult her." 

"About the refreshments," said Larry, when 
Cary had gone. ' ' We can 't have much because 
there's so little sugar. People used to give us 
cake and candy and all sorts of stuff." 

"We will just do without," said Janet sen- 
sibly. "We ought not to care, either, because 
we are helping save food. But we can have 
things that are all right for us to use. There is 
sweet cider." 

"Yes," said Ned quickly, "and apples and 
chestnuts, though they're both as old as the 
hills." 



102 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"We might have gingerbread," observed 
Candace shyly. A limited bill of fare was no 
novelty to her. So far, war had not reduced in 
the least the few staples she and Granny de- 
pended on. 

"Ginger cookies made with molasses," 
amended Janet. "Cookies are easier to 
handle, Candace. And, well, — that's enough. 
We ought to be satisfied with that and we can 
eat it with a clear conscience. Doughnuts 
would be nice, but of course they take both fat 
and sugar. We will appoint certain girls to 
make cookies." 

"I can bring some chestnuts," offered Can- 
dace. 

"And we can easily get the apples and cider," 
said Larry. "Ned and I'll be responsible for 
those. That feed is as good as anybody could 
want, even though it antedates the Revolution- 
ary war. But the entertainment stumps me. ' ' 

Cary came back smiling. "Mother told me 
at once what we can do, and I'm sure it has 
never been seen in Ridgefield before. She sug- 
gests that we trim the hall with boughs of 
evergreen, ever and ever so much, and have an 
owl hunt." 



A COMMITTEE MEETING 103 

The other members of the committee looked 
their amazement. 

"Everybody will have a tiny wooden gun," 
explain Cary, " which the boys can whittle out 
of shingles. It will be hardly any work to make 
them. Hidden all about the room will be lots 
and lots of little paper owls. Mother will draw 
patterns for them and help make them. Each 
owl will have a hole punched in it and a string 
tied to it, so the person who shoots the owl can 
hang it on his gun. Gray owls count five, 
screech owls ten, barred owls fifteen, and great 
white ones twenty. The best hunter will re- 
ceive a prize. ' ' 

Overcome by the superlative originality of 
this entertainment, the committee gazed at one 
another in silence. 

"After the hunt," Cary went on, "she sug- 
gests that we play games for a while, games that 
everybody knows, and then dance. ' ' 

"Splendid!" exclaimed Janet. "Only some 
of the class don't dance." 

Candace drew a little breath. She for one 
hadn't the least idea how. 

"Mother thought of that and says we might 
have a big kettle of molasses or maple syrup 



104 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

boiling on the gas stove in the teachers' rest- 
room and those who don't dance can make 
candy. Then we will serve the refreshments. 
All this is, if we really don't want any of the 
regular Hallowe'en doings." 

1 l We don 't, ' ' announced the committee in uni- 
son, save Candace, who was silent. Ned, twirl- 
ing his cap in his hands, suddenly threw it up 
and caught it again. 

"And look at the absolute simplicity of it 
all!" he ejaculated. 

After numerous details had been discussed 
and arranged, Ned and Larry went away. Ja- 
net, too, discovered the hour, but as she rose to 
go, Candace, who had taken almost no part in 
the discussion of various matters, suddenly 
spoke. 

"Janet, I wish you'd put somebody else in my 
place. I'm no good at this sort of thing and I 
can 't come that evening, anyway. ' ' 

Both Janet and Cary stared at her. 

"I can't," Candace went on hastily. "I 
couldn't get home that night and it would be 
too hard for Granny to see to things next morn- 
ing. ' ' 

"Candace!" exclaimed Cary, looking dis- 



A COMMITTEE MEETING 105 

tressed. "Oh, what will Mother think of me! 
When I went up to ask her for ideas, she told 
me to be sure to say to you that she wanted you 
to stay here that night. She spoke of it es- 
pecially but I forgot. Surely your grand- 
mother won't mind being alone just for once. 
And couldn't Billy Park see about the milk?" 

Candace 's white face flushed. ' i That 's lovely 
of Mrs. Dexter. I suppose Billy would go up, 
but — " she ended miserably, "the real reason is 
that I haven 't anything to wear. ' ' 

Both girls were dumb before this blunt state- 
ment. In their happy, sheltered lives, new, 
pretty garments appeared whenever needed, as 
surely as proper food. 

"Candace, you look so nice in that dress. 
Truly it doesn't matter what you wear," Janet 
began, longing to offer one of her own frocks but 
restrained by innate delicacy from a suggestion 
that might hurt Candace 's pride. 

"It doesn't matter much at school, but this is 
different," said Candace, not knowing how to 
put into words her feeling that in class, fine 
scholarship placed her on an equality with all. 

"Clothes don't matter," Janet began again, 
but suddenly stopped. When one is only fifteen 



106 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

she knew they did matter, and mattered very 
much. "Candace, you shall come!" she broke 
out. "We'll have some Hallowe'en stunts 
after all and you shall be a witch in costume and 
tell fortunes." 

"In a cave of pine boughs with the biggest 
owl of all over the entrance," Cary added, 
clapping her hands enthusiastically. 

"And Amy's black cat, if we can persuade 
him to stand so much society, ' ' Janet struck in. 

Candace's eyes filled, as she looked from one 
to the other. 

"Say yes," Cary went on. "Mother will 
plan a costume and help you make up for- 
tunes." 

"Why, you'll have the chance of your life," 
seconded Janet. "Just think how you will 
know everybody who comes to you and can slam 
them right and left. But, Cary, why not have 
all the committee in costume? That will be 
more fun yet, for then people won't know who is 
the witch. You and I can think of some dis- 
guise." 

"Let's," agreed Cary. "But will the boys 
dress up?" 

"Larry will, and we can coax Ned into it. 



A COMMITTEE MEETING 107 

We may have to make their costumes, though. 
You'll do it, won't you, Candace?" 

Having had time to recover her poise, Can- 
dace agreed. "It's dear of you two to plan a 
way out, but this will come up again and again, 
so you might just as well face the fact that I 
can't do what the rest of the class can, because, 
well — I'm as poor as Job's turkey and that's 
all there is to it." 

"When the next difficulty comes, we'll get out 
of that, too," declared Janet. "No use wor- 
rying till the time comes. All you'll need will 
be a black skirt and shawl, and we'll make a 
pointed cap from cardboard." 

"There are some wigs in Mother's treasure 
chest," said Cary. " Candace 's hair would 
give her away. Oh, we'll make a fine witch of 
you, never fear. And you're to stay with us 
over night, Candace." 

After a few minutes Candace went away, 
leaving Janet and Cary to draw long breaths of 
relief. "Wasn't that a fix!" sighed Janet. 
"We were up against it with a vengeance, but I 
flatter myself that we scraped out rather well." 

"Because you thought so quickly," said Cary 
generously. "I wish there was some way for 



108 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Candace to have a really pretty dress. I love 
my clothes and it doesn't seem fair. But, Ja- 
net, did you know what that old wet-blanket of 
a teacher, Miss Pollard, said? She thinks we 
ought not to have any parties during war-time. " 

"0 dear!" sighed Janet. "I can't feel that 
it's wrong to have some fun and good times." 

"I told Daddy and he said, ' Nonsense,' and 
that it was perfectly natural for us to want our 
frolic and he thought it right that we should 
have it. He said it was a duty to be cheerful 
and for us to have our party, only to keep it 
simple and inexpensive. Janet, do telephone 
home and then stay to supper with me, because 
we must plan what we will wear and think of 
some costumes that we can induce those boys to 
get into." 

"I can suggest something right away," said 
Janet. "You and I will be witches, too; we'll 
have one white, one gray and one black. And 
the boys shall be goblins. Larry will love to 
be a goblin." 



CHAPTER VIII 

A HUNTING CHAPTER 

Owls of every known and some of unknown 
species, varying in size from wee ones half an 
inch high to the bird three feet tall, presiding 
over the witch's retreat, perched among the pine 
and bitter-sweet decorations of the High School 
hall that Hallowe'en night. They swung from 
electric lights, lurked in the slats of the inner 
shutters, and the choicest specimen of all, a 
' i Great Downy,' ' exactly one inch long, re- 
mained unshot until almost the end, when 
Johnny Chadwick's bright eyes discovered it, 
neatly suspended by a bit of gum behind the 
pedal of the grand piano, and with it won the 
score for marksmanship: 

Of course there had been accidents, misunder- 
standings and hurt feelings as always happens 
when any number of people, young or older, try 
to put through a public entertainment, but in 
the end all the thin ice was successfully skated, 

every difficulty overcome, — a result largely due 

109 



no AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

to Janet's sense of fairness and her even tem- 
per. From start to finish, the whole evening 
finally went smoothly, and everybody had so 
much fun, that the "owl hunt" was unanimously 
declared the most successful party ever pro- 
vided by the Ridgefield High School. 

Cloaked in her disguise, Candace forgot her 
scorn of all frivolities, forgot herself and thor- 
oughly enjoyed reading the palms of her mysti- 
fied schoolmates, and poking sly and sometimes 
pointed fun at their foibles. Though they knew 
the fortune-teller with her disguised voice must 
be one of three girls, knew her interpretations 
sprung from close class-room association, it was 
comical what ridiculous importance they at- 
tached to these prophecies. 

Candace's happy mood lasted through the 
evening, kept her excited and gay while she and 
Cary undressed in adjoining rooms in the But- 
terfly House, chatting and laughing till both 
were ready for bed. As she finally put out the 
light, Candace 's last thought was for the pleas- 
ure of waking next morning in that pretty room, 
and of pretending it was really hers, instead of 
getting up before dawn at call of a relentless 
alarm clock under the cottage eaves on Thorn. 



A HUNTING CHAPTER in 

Candace 's actual awakening differed from her 
anticipations. More tired than she realized 
after her unusual evening, she slept late, and 
the sun had been shining some moments when 
she was abruptly startled into full conscious- 
ness by a shriek from Cary's room. 

Jumping out of bed, Candace rushed to the 
adjoining door. Cary, sitting up in bed, was 
aiming a slipper at a big black bird promenad- 
ing calmly over her bureau. 

"Oh, the horrid thing !" she exclaimed. 
"Chrissy thinks he's beautiful and Daddy says 
he's probably a fairy prince in disguise, but I 
will not have him in my room. He can take 
himself and his magic out of here." 

The crow paid no attention to Cary's slip- 
per, rebounding from the front of the bureau. 
The second one also missed him and went 
through the open window. 

"Suppose somebody was going by and saw 
that slipper come flying out!" laughed Candace. 

"It would be worse if it hit him on the head," 
observed Cary, rolling her handkerchief into a 
ball and throwing that at the crow. Then, hav- 
ing nothing else in reach that could be used as 
a weapon, she lay down. 



ii2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Well, stay if you want to. Come, get into 
bed with me, Candace. You'll take cold. ,, 

Candace colored, painfully conscious of her 
plain cheap nightdress. She could see how it 
contrasted with Cary's. 

"I think I'd better dress," she said, feeling 
suddenly shy again. "It's after seven." 

"Gracious!" Cary moaned. "I suppose I 
might as well get up too, even though it is Sat- 
urday and no school. Will anything make that 
bird go?" 

"I'll shoo him out," said Candace, suiting the 
action to the word, and kindly closing the win- 
dow as well. The great crow flapped heavily 
into a neighboring tree, with a parting caw that 
sounded like a hoot of derision. 

Somehow the enchantment of last evening no 
longer held. Candace knew the room she occu- 
pied was still pretty and charming, but her 
pleasure in it was gone. Last night, without a 
touch of envy, she admired Cary's gay kimono 
and dainty toilet articles, but with the morning 
she could see only the violent contrast of her 
own belongings. Cary, too, seemed to be ex- 
periencing a reaction, for her conversation was 
mostly a running complaint because the water 



A HUNTING CHAPTER 113 

was cold, her hair tangled, her nail-cleaner mis- 
laid, and her pet smock torn. 

The two were barely ready when the bell for 
breakfast rang, where Candace appeared silent 
and awkward, partly because she so admired 
both Cary's parents and was overcome at being 
their guest, partly because she was unaccus- 
tomed to the little refinements of Anne Dexter 's 
table. She did not notice the proper spoon to 
use for her orange, wiped her fingers on her 
napkin before discovering her finger-bowl, al- 
most upset her chocolate and did spill her egg. 
In vain she kept telling herself that these trifles 
did not matter, that because for two months she 
had ranked the entire High School, she was ex- 
empt from bothering over such insignificant de- 
tails, but in her heart she was mortified over 
her clumsiness. 

The family conversation as well amazed her. 
Had it passed between people she admired less 
she would have condemned it as utterly frivo- 
lous. She and Granny never had time or spir- 
its to joke and the Dexters joked all the time. 
During the recent twenty-four hours, Candace 's 
theories of the world received several jolts. 

' ' Candace, are you in a hurry to get home ? ' ' 



ii4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Mrs. Dexter asked as thev rose from the table. 
"If not, will you do me a great favor?" 

"I should love to do anything for you," said 
Candace with genuine feeling. "If I am home 
by noon, Granny won't worry." 

'T very much want to make a little sketch of 
you, — " began Mrs. Dexter, but stopped to 
laugh at Cary's tragic moan and the manner in 
which she dropped limply into a chair. 

"I knew it," groaned Cary. "I knew by 
your eyes, Mammy, that you had designs on 
Candace. That means that your abused daugh- 
ter dusts three, no, four rooms." 

"A terrible task," agreed her mother. "But 
I really must have Candace in color. I have 
planned just how to pose her. It won't be hard, 
Candace ; I only want you to sit in a big chair 
in a certain attitude, reading any book you 
choose." 

Candace was only too willing to oblige and, 
ever after, connected the sophomore owl hunt 
with Macaulay 's l ' Lays, ' ' for on that memorable 
morning she made the acquaintance of Horatius 
and the "noble river that rolls by the towers of 
Rome." 

Utterly oblivious of all about her, blind to 



A HUNTING CHAPTER iij 

Mrs. Dexter's quick appraising glances, igno- 
rant of the pr _ of the sketch, Candace read 
on, an excited witr f the keeping of the 
bridge and of the battle by the Lake RegOhis. 

( until the Great Twin Brethren rode through 

me with news f victory did Candace draw a 
1ol_ ugh and realize that the poem was end 
and the clock striking eleven. 

''Don't be troubled. Candace,* 1 said her host- 

1, noticing her disturbed expression. "Mr. 
Dexter is goinz to take you home in the car. 

me and see my sketch." 

"Do I really look like that?*' Candace asked 
in astonishment. 

• • B »mething like it, I hope. ' ' said Mrs. Dexter, 
much amused. From Candace \s tone she could 
not tell whether the opinion was favorable or 
the reverse. So completely absorbed had the 
girl been in her book, that her whole attitudp 
was unconscious. Th: s If-forgetfulness and 
her lovely coloring Mrs. Dexter had 91 -fully 
transferred to canvas. TT. si of the figu 
dress, chair and backs-round were as yet only 
roughly indicated 

"I can put those in later," the artist 
plained, not wishing to say in so many words 



n6 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

that she wanted to paint Candace in the blue- 
gray dress she always visualized her as wear- 
ing. 

Mr. Dexter brought the car to take Candace 
home and offered to take his daughter as well, 
but Cary said she was busy and that it looked 
like rain. She flattened her nose against the 
window and waved her hand rather listlessly to 
her guest as the machine started. 

"Are you tired, dear?" asked her mother, 
noticing her attitude. 

"Oh, a little," replied Cary. "I'm sort of 
disappointed in Candace. She limbered up last 
night and was no end of fun like other people, 
but this morning she shut up again just like a 
clam. She can talk about books we are study- 
ing at school, but she doesn't care about other 
things we do. And wasn't she embarrassed at 
breakfast?" 

"Candace has the instincts of a lady," said 
Mrs. Dexter, scraping her palette, "and when 
one has that, the necessary polish is soon gained. 
Given the chance, she would quickly become 
more at ease in company and acquire the little 
social graces she lacks." 

"Well-1, perhaps," agreed her daughter, 



A HUNTING CHAPTER 117 



u 



but, Mammy, I don 't think she considers them 
necessary. Sometimes it seems as though she 
rather looks down on the rest of us because we 
fuss over our clothes and such things." 

Mrs. Dexter was silent. How could she ex- 
plain to Cary that this attitude was doubtless 
the shield for Candace's pride? 

"Candace is a very interesting girl," she re- 
marked at length, "and her opportunities in life 
have been so limited that she has done wonders 
with what she has." 

"She is doing awfully well in French," said 
Cary. "Very well, I mean, Mammy, — you 
needn't squint at me. But I believe I should 
like her better if she made more mistakes. Do 
you know, I think I will go and look in the at- 
tic for that rag doll you told me about. Chrissy 
ought to have her if she's ever going to. Come 
up too and explore with me. It's really rain- 
ing now and you've painted for a long time." 

"Well, I will," agreed her mother. "I sup- 
pose the keys to those closed rooms are on the 
bunch of keys in your father's desk. Look in 
the upper left-hand drawer." 

The rain was falling steadily on the slate roof 
of the Butterfly House when the two reached the 



u8 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

attic, its beating, though less audible than on 
shingles, filling the air with a pleasant hum 
that emphasized the coziness indoors. Almost 
the first key Cary tried fitted one door. It 
opened upon a small dark room, shelved on 
three sides and on the fourth showing a place 
about a yard high that led under the eaves. 

The explorers had provided a lantern and its 
light revealed upon the shelves any quantity 
of glass jars, a whole row of gilt bird-cages, out- 
dated kitchen utensils, old lamps, discarded 
ornaments, and a big pile of quilts. Under the 
lower shelves were two old-fashioned leather 
trunks, covered with cowhide and ornamented 
by brass nails tracing initials on the covers. 

One contained a quantity of baby clothes, old 
and yellowed, of a fashion years gone by, made 
with the most exquisite material and embroid- 
ery. The other held several ancient striped 
silk and satin dresses, and a pair of white slip- 
pers that probably once graced the feet of a 
bride. 

"We will dress up in these some day," ex- 
claimed Cary, admiring especially a yellow silk 
dotted with tiny pink rosebuds. "And here is 
a white coal-scuttle bonnet." 



A HUNTING CHAPTER 119 

Having looked through the trunks, she took 
the lantern and knelt before the opening under 
the eaves. As far as she could see were only 
dusty fire-irons, an old flax wheel, a tin reflector 
used for baking before an open fire, and some 
big milk-cans. 

"Cary, it isn't worth while crawling in there 
and getting yourself all dusty," remonstrated 
her mother. "I am very sure the doll is in a 
trunk. Let us look in the other attic." 

Cary obediently backed out the few steps she 
had entered and they unlocked the second room. 
This was not wholly dark, since a small win- 
dow was set high in the passage wall. 

i ' This is surely the hospital for broken furni- 
ture, ' ' laughed her mother. * ' Six, eight chairs, 
a round table, a what-not, four pictures, any- 
thing more?" 

"A darling old-fashioned mahogany cradle 
with a hood," said Cary admiringly. "What a 
shame Chrissy is too big for it ! Do you think 
it was Daddy's?" 

"Oh, child, it far antedates him," laughed 
Mrs. Dexter, "but perhaps he slept in it. Let 
us see, only old books in this corner. Ah, there 
is a leather trunk." 



120 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Cary pounced eagerly upon it, drew it from 
under the shelf, and lifted the lid. There lay 
the rag doll, Aunt Nancy 's curious bequest to 
her mother. 

In silence Anne Dexter examined it. About 
two feet tall, it had a flat round head and flat 
body, awkward hands and feet. Its dress, low- 
necked and short-sleeved, looked like and prob- 
ably was a frock once worn by some little child. 
Face and hair were painted upon the stiff cloth. 
The trunk also contained a Red-riding-hood 
cloak, two more dresses and some undergar- 
ments. 

" Let's take her down to Chrissy," said Cary. 
"She has been shut up here so long that she 
will love to be played with again. I wonder 
what her name is." 

"Lizzie may remember," replied her mother. 
"The doll has been in the Dexter family for 
something like one hundred years and I know 
she has a name which I have forgotten. There 
used to be a little arm-chair, too, Cary. Just 
look under the eaves and see whether it is in 
sight. ' ' 

Cary stooped before the opening that ran 
far back along the edge of the sloping roof. 



A HUNTING CHAPTER 121 

Yes, in plain sight and within reach was a red- 
painted wooden chair. 

"Chrissy will love this," she said, bringing 
it out. "It is big enough for her to sit in her- 
self. Now I am going straight to the kitchen 
and interview Lizzie." 

Cary ran down-stairs, leaving her mother 
gazing thoughtfully into the old trunk. She was 
still in the same position when Cary returned. 

"The doll's name is Judith," she reported, 
"called Judy for short. Lizzie is sure she is 
over one hundred and twenty-five years old. 
She has been covered ever so many times, when- 
ever her face was dirty. Lizzie says Great-aunt 
Nancy herself covered her nicely when I was 
born, and painted that face. So you needn't 
feel afraid of Chrissy 's getting germs because 
she hasn't been played with since." 

"Oh, Cary," said her mother suddenly, "I 
know it's foolish of me, but somehow I feel as 
though I didn't want to see that doll around. 
She would be a daily reminder of something 
that is better forgotten. Let's take only the 
little chair. Chrissy doesn't know about her 
and she has so many toys. You don't mind, 
do you?" 



122 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Why, no, Mammy, I only wanted to see her, 
and she certainly isn't any beauty. If you 
don't care to have her down-stairs that settles 
it," said Cary. "Go to sleep again, Judith; 
you'll have to stay in your trunk for the pres- 
ent." 



CHAPTER IX 

ONE MONDAY 

"What is there about Monday morning that 
makes one feel as though a special curse rested 
upon it?" sighed Mrs. Dexter on the second day 
of the following week. Christine was as cross 
as that cheerful little person knew how to be, 
and her dressing and breakfasting had been a 
series of snarls punctuated by tears; Charles 
Dexter, though blessed with an even disposi- 
tion and a sense of humor, seemed to have mis- 
laid both when he cut himself shaving and found 
the furnace fire out; Lizzie was grumpy be- 
cause lowering skies gave no promise of drying 
any clothes, and everything seemed to be wrong 
with Cary. 

"What are you looking for?" her mother 
asked at length, when Cary had twice turned 
over each article on the big library table and 
was tossing papers and magazines into con- 
fused piles. 

123 



i2 4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Oh, my French exercise book," was the 
fretful reply. "I left it here on Saturday and 
now it is gone. I must have it, for our note- 
books are to be marked this morning. I can't 
find my fountain pen either, and I know that 
was on my bureau Friday night.' ' 

" If it was there, very likely the crow took it. 
You said he was walking over the bureau." 

"Perhaps he did take the pen, but it's a queer 
coincidence that the book is missing, too. Even 
though he is a prince in disguise, he shows con- 
siderable intelligence in choosing that. More 
likely that Candace Halliday took it." 

Mrs. Dexter suppressed a sharp reproof. 
"Don't be absurd, Cary. Of course she did 
nothing of the sort. ' ' 

"You don't understand, Mother," said Cary 
crossly, "that if I can't find that note-book and 
hand it in, Candace will get the highest mark 
for the month in French, when it ought by good 
rights to be mine. She must have taken it, for 
it was here on the table where she left her own 
books when she came home with me." 

"Of course it is possible that Candace picked 
it up by mistake, but really you must not say you 
think she took it deliberately." 



ONE MONDAY 125 

"What am I to think when it isn't here?" 
Cary began, but just then Chrissy began to cry 
and Mr. Dexter called from the hall. 

"Anne, I've pulled a button off this coat." 

Seizing a needle, Mrs. Dexter disappeared 
to render first aid to a husband impatient to get 
to school. Cary, muttering to herself, com- 
pleted the disorder of the table by upsetting a 
brass holder full of pencils and pens, and 
rushed off without the usual kiss to her mother. 
Her unceremonious exit tickled her father's 
sense of fun. 

"Cheer up, Anne," he said as he followed. 
"We'll both come back in a better frame of 
mind. ' ' 

Mrs. Dexter put the library in its usual con- 
dition of neatness, with an eye to Cary's lost 
possessions, but neither came to light. "I sup- 
pose she left them both at school, ' ' she thought. 
"Now if Chrissy is sick, she is going back to 
bed; if she is just naughty, she can stop fret- 
ting. I may not be able to straighten out the 
older members of my family so easily, but 
Christine may choose between her crib and be- 
ing pleasant." 

Cary herself thought she might find the miss- 



126 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

ing note-book in her desk and immediately 
searched for it, but in vain. As she closed the 
lid, she looked up to meet Candace 's eyes. 

Nothing was more natural than that Candace 
should be waiting to give her a morning greet- 
ing, but Cary's ill-humor distorted the glance 
into a confession of guilt. At her first oppor- 
tunity, she confided her loss and her suspicions 
to both Amy and Janet. 

"Why, how shocking !" said Amy, accepting 
Cary's theory without the slightest considera- 
tion. "And you really deserve the highest 
mark in French. ' ' 

"Cary, that's ridiculous," said Janet, always 
just to others. "You've mislaid it. Candace 
wouldn't do anything like that." 

"It's rather suspicious that she should be 
looking at me just then," Cary retorted, "and 
the book is neither here nor at home." 

"I lose things often enough myself, so that 
I'd want to look more than one morning before 
I decided it was stolen," said Janet sensibly. 
"Tell Miss Dubois that you can't find it and 
perhaps she will hold up your mark until to- 
morrow when you have had another chance to 
hunt for it." 



ONE MONDAY 127 

"I'll try," said Cary, and she did. Had she 
not been the daughter of the principal and had 
not the excuse of a mislaid book been an old 
one to the French instructor, the request might 
have been granted, but Miss Dubois was anxious 
to avoid any possible charge of favoritism, and 
she knew of cases where the excuse was made 
to gain time. Cary's work had to stand on her 
class showing and her mark for the month was 
far below the one gained by Candace. 

"It's unjust and unkind and I'm not going 
to stand it," Cary sputtered. "I'll tell Can- 
dace just what I think of her." 

Janet had a consoling arm about her friend. 
"Did you ask Candace if she saw it?" she in- 
quired. 

"Yes," sobbed Cary. "She said she hadn't, 
but she looked very conscious when I spoke. I 
believe she did take it, Janet." 

"Oh, don't think that. Truly it isn't worth 
it. A mark doesn't affect your real knowledge 
of French and we all know that you pronounce 
and translate much better than the rest of us. 
It is only in putting English into French that 
Candace gets ahead." 

"That's where my book would have shown 



128 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

that I could do it. I worked so hard this month, 
and I know I improved. And now I don't get 
any credit for it. ' y 

Janet was silent. To offer any real consola- 
tion when Cary felt so sore was difficult. i ' Will 
you let me come and help hunt for that note- 
book this afternoon V she asked. 

"Yes," said Cary, wiping her eyes. "I'd 
love to have you come, but I know we shall never 
find it. Do I look as though I'd been crying? 
I hate to have Mother see me, for Chrissy and 
I were both as cross as bears this morning. 
Come as early as you can, Janet." 

When Janet arrived at the Butterfly House 
that afternoon, calm seemed to have descended 
upon the family. After half an hour in bed, 
Chrissy arose, sweet as a day in June ; Mr. Dex- 
ter was whistling softly over a pair of skiis he 
was repairing, and Cary remained serene, even 
though a careful search revealed no trace of the 
missing book. 

"Perhaps you dropped it coming from 
school," Janet at length decided. "If you did, 
you will get it again, because your name was on 
the cover." 

"Mother thinks the crow took it," said Cary. 



ONE MONDAY 129 

"I guess he did take the pen, because I know 
that was on my bureau, but I am sure I left the 
note-book in the library where he couldn't get 
in. Did you bring your knitting V 9 

"Yes," replied Janet, producing it. "More 
socks for Arthur. He wears them out incredi- 
bly fast, and says he should perish daily with- 
out them. ' ' 

"Has he been in Texas ever since he volun- 
teered V 9 Mrs. Dexter asked, as the two settled 
themselves on the big couch before the fireplace. 

"No," said Janet, "he is there only for in- 
struction in actual flying. The men who pass 
the physical tests for aviation, and Arthur says 
they are very severe indeed, go first to what is 
called a ground school, and many of them never 
get any farther. That is where the college men 
stand the best chance, for it takes a trained 
mind to get through such a stiff course." 

"What does a 'ground school' mean?" asked 
Cary. 

"It is called that because there is no actual 
flying. They learn the theory of flight and 
wireless telegraphy and map-making and sig- 
naling and how to use different guns and all 
about engines and ever so many such things. 



i 3 o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

I can't begin to tell you, but it is very difficult 
and many men are dropped entirely or put back 
into lower classes. There were seventy-five in 
Arthur's class when he started, but less than 
twenty were sent on for instruction in actual 
flying. We were so proud of him, for he is only 
twenty-two, you see. Now he is down in 
Texas.' 9 

"Does he like flying?" asked Cary. 

"He is crazy about it," said Janet. "He 
says it really is not so dangerous as people sup- 
pose, because the planes are so strong and so 
well-built, but of course there are accidents 
through cadets losing their heads, or through 
carelessness. He wrote of one fellow who tried 
to make a landing and came down in a tree. 
The plane was smashed, but the pilot merely 
scratched one knee. Arthur is at the most ad- 
vanced camp now, and expects to 'win his 
wings,' as they call it, and get his commission 
before Christmas." 

"Wings?" repeated Cary. 

"Yes, the right to wear a shield with two 
wings on his left breast. He hopes to be sent 
to France, but says he may be kept at camp as 
an instructor." 



ONE MONDAY 131 

"Your mother wouldn't object to that," said 
Mrs. Dexter, smiling. 

' ' No, ' f Janet agreed, ' ' only she knows Arthur 
would hate it. I can't myself see why all the 
boys are so crazy to get to the front. And when 
it comes to killing other people, I am sure Ar- 
thur won't like it at all, for it has been the 
beauty of flying and the joy of motion and the 
clouds and the sunsets that he so appreciates." 

"I suppose the actual conflict will seem im- 
personal," commented Mrs. Dexter, "more so 
in air-fighting than in other kinds. How do 
they get the necessary experience in gunnery?" 

"Oh, at targets towed by another plane, or 
with a gun that is really a camera and takes a 
picture at the exact moment the shot would be 
fired, so the developed plates tell how correctly 
they aimed. They work extremely hard and 
the men who win their wings deserve them. 
But it isn't all drudgery, for Arthur writes of 
interesting lectures and entertainments and says 
he can almost always get hold of a magazine or 
a book when he wants one. He spoke of one 
odd thing ; when there is one accident, more are 
almost sure to happen the same day, and once 
about half the planes in camp came to grief 



i 3 2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

within a few hours. When one man gets nerv- 
ous it seems contagious. That day when so 
many machines were disabled, the men were 
lined up and given what he calls a ' bawling- 
out.' Arthur hadn't been flying that day, but 
had to hear the lecture just the same. He wrote 
about trying to make molasses candy on the 
stove in his tent, and it boiled over and made 
a dreadful mess. Some others saw the black 
smoke pouring from the flap and thought the 
tent was on fire, and before Arthur knew what 
was happening, his entire company was lined 
up to put out his burning molasses. ' ' 

"What happened then?" laughed Cary. 

"He didn't say that anything did. It was an 
hour when the cadets were off duty and I sup- 
pose he had a right to make candy if he wished. 
But since he told us about it, we have tried to 
send him some quite regularly. He will like 
your helmet, Cary. He says he uses one of 
different weight for different days, according 
to the weather." 

"It will be finished by to-morrow, " said Cary, 
regarding it thoughtfully. 

"Mother is sending a package Wednesday," 



ONE MONDAY 133 

Janet went on. " Yon can put in the helmet and 
I shall tell him that you made it." 

"I wonder if he will like it enough to write 
me about it," observed Cary. "It would be 
such fun to get a letter from him. ' ' 

"Write to thank you?" laughed Janet. "I 
think it likely, considering that Mother brought 
him up. He'll hear from her if he isn't polite 
enough to thank you. ' ' 

As she spoke, Janet's ball of yarn rolled 
toward Mrs. Dexter. 

"Why, Janet, what have you been doing ?" 
she inquired as the girl reached for it. "Your 
hands look as though you 'd been trying to tame 
a tiger. ' ' 

"Aren't they dreadful?" agreed Janet, look- 
ing at the numerous scratches that decorated her 
wrists and ringers. "It was May's kitten. I 
think oats must be my unlucky animal, for I 
seem fated to get into scrapes with them. Last 
evening, Father and Mother went to that lecture 
in the Town Hall, but May wasn't feeling quite 
well, so I stayed with her. Her kitten got up 
in my lap, and I slipped my bracelet over its 
head, making it a little gold collar. It looked 



134 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

very cunning and May was pleased, but pretty 
soon, the horrid little thing managed to get the 
bracelet into its mouth and wedged in such a 
way that I couldn't move it. 

"I think perhaps I could have forced it back, 
only it was over its teeth as well and the kitten 
was dreadfully frightened. After clawing me 
desperately, it flew about the room as though 
in a fit. I put on gloves and tried again, but 
made its poor mouth bleed and that nearly fin- 
ished May. The whole affair was so good for 
her when she wasn't feeling well to begin with! 
The kit tore around foaming at the mouth and 
May cried and I couldn't do anything with either 
of them. 

' * Finally I telephoned to Larry Woods and 
asked him to come over and help me. When he 
arrived, the kitten was laid out exhausted on 
the rug and May and I were in despair. We 
rolled the cat in a sweater and I held it while 
Larry tried to dislodge the bracelet. He 
couldn't without knocking out a tooth, and May 
could never stand that nor forgive us." 

"What did you do?" asked the interested 
Cary. 

"I brought the wire-cutters and Larry sawed 



ONE MONDAY 135 

the bracelet apart, " sighed Janet. "I hated to 
do it, but it seemed the only way. Well, the 
kitten is all right again, and I took the bracelet 
to the jeweler this morning. He said he could 
mend it so it would scarcely show, but he evi- 
dently thought it was a very curious injury. I 
wouldn't tell him what had happened to it, for 
I knew he would tell the whole town. But I can 
assure you," ended Janet, surveying her red- 
streaked hands, "that I shall never again use 
a bracelet for a kitten's collar.' ' 



CHAPTER X 

HARVEST SUPPEB 

^ira^ge to say, nothing more was seen of 
either Cary's pen or note-book. She finally 
agreed that the crow mnst have taken the first 
from her bureau, bnt stubbornly stuck to her 
own opinion as to the fate of the exercises. 

Candace thought Cary unaccountably chilly 
after the Hallowe'en owl hunt, and withdrew 
more than ever into her shell, taking almost no 
part in school events outside the class-room, be- 
ing unsociable even at recess, and the other girls 
were too busy with various affairs to take the 
trouble to penetrate her reserve. 

Two weeks later came the harvest supper at 
the church, an event which Cary found most in- 
teresting. Ont in the country, where one actu- 
ally saw the apples picked and the corn cut, the 
gathering of crops took on real significance and 
the service of thanksgiving seemed appropriate. 

136 



HARVEST SUPPER 137 

Carr willinsrlv ac :en Janet and Arr-v 

pressed her into work as a waitress. 

With --.roe advice from Mrs. Dexter and as- 
sistance from a few -; ._.:_ :ys. the older girls 
trimmed the oarisn house. I: Kittv, Maui. 
Dorothy and the res: felt this autumn the ab- 
sence z '..- ~~onu_ Loi "U'j iu r.'re"i'". us "ears 
helped arrange the corn-stalks ami pile the 
pumpkins, they were brave and phiiosophicah 
but the gay laughter as they worked served as 
cover for many a thought going to son: in 

camp or already ;.ver sea. "butler. Ned. Evan 
and other vounsr bovs did their best to supr 
the vacant places of those who were serving 
their count r v. 

When the waitress- oeared. smart in 
dainty light dresses and little ruffled aprons, 
the transformed parish house called for admira- 
tion. Shocks of unhusked corn stood at the base 
of the beams, the lights gk:-;u::e:I stftly thnugh 
yellow shades, each table wa£ prettib - b:-corat 
with fall fruits, and on and about the raise:: 
platform with its table for the church ofhcers. 
was heaped an immense quantity of vegetables 
and orchard produce, apples, carrots, egg- 
plants, eaiilhuowers. celery, poi ■ ?s, squashes. 



138 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

— every variety that Kidgefield farms yielded 
during the season. At sight of this, Cary's 
eyes opened. 

"What is to be done with all that?" she 
asked. 

"It goes to the hospital and the Old People's 
£[0106,' ' Janet replied. "Everybody gives 
something. Father brought that bushel of po- 
tatoes and a barrel of apples. It is the parish 
thank-offering for good crops, and everything 
is given away." 

"Come, girls," called Mrs. Baker. "Janet, 
you take this side of this first table for yours, 
and Cary may work with you. Can you man- 
age it between you or had there better be a 
third? I guess we will have three waitresses 
for each table. I'll send somebody else later. 
Amy, you and Priscilla and Margaret take this 
next one." 

Busy Mrs. Baker's voice died away as she 
crossed the room, issuing directions as she went. 

"Tell me what to do, Janet," said Cary. "I 
never waited at a church supper in my life. ' f 

"It is fun," replied Janet. "To-night we 
are to have a war supper, baked beans, and 
meat-loaf that is really hominy and peanuts, 



HARVEST SUPPER 139 

and it's ever so good, because Mother made it. 
Then there is brown bread and graham and rye, 
every kind except white, and canned peas that 
were raised and canned in Ridgefield. For des- 
sert there is every kind of pie you can imagine, 
with coffee and sweet cider. The boys will pour 
the coffee. We are to bring the platters of 
food for our table and pass the beans and meat- 
loaf and the peas. Then we clear the table and 
bring dessert. There isn't much to do, except 
to see that people have what they want. But, 
Cary, if you really have never attended a har- 
vest supper before, you ought to go into the 
church where the people are gathering and see 
the whole affair. Let us both go. We will get 
near the head of the line and slide into place 
when we come out. I'll just tell Mrs. Baker, 
so she won't think we have deserted." 

Janet and Cary slipped through the winding 
passage into the church, already well-filled with 
people, who, having laid aside their wraps, 
awaited the summons to supper. Almost be- 
fore Cary discovered her parents in the throng, 
Ned Babcock sounded a single note on his flute, 
and the people began to form, two and two, in 
a long line. Led by the flute-player and six 



140 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

men and boys from the choir, they moved in pro- 
cession toward the parish house, singing as they 
went: 

" 'Come, ye thankful people, come, 
Raise the song of harvest home. 
All is safely gathered in, 
Ere the winter storms begin: 
God our Maker doth provide 
For our wants to be supplied, 
Come, ye grateful people, come, 
Raise the song of harvest home/ " 

Cary heard Janet's sweet notes join the hymn 
of thanksgiving, heard voice after voice come 
in to swell the volume of sound till it rose to 
echo among the arches. Still singing and in 
decorous procession, they entered the parish 
house, continuing the music until each table was 
surrounded by standing people, whose heads 
were reverently bowed while Mr. Eichards gave 
thanks for the year's crops and asked a blessing 
on the harvest supper. Their sincere earnest- 
ness and the plain simplicity of it all, touched 
Cary rather deeply, for she had never known 
anything quite like this little church, a church 
that somehow seemed so much a part of the real 
life of the community. It was all so intimate 
and so genuine. 

Cary had scant time for meditating, for the 



HARVEST SUPPER 141 

ladies in the serving-room announced the food 
ready to take in, and she flew to attend to her 
duties. Not until every one in her section was 
served and she drew back for a general survey 
to see whether a glass needed refilling, did she 
realize that Mrs. Baker had sent Candace for 
the third waitress at their table, and that Can- 
dace was not getting on very well. Indeed, 
Janet had gone to the rescue and was gently ad- 
vising Candace to pass her platter at the left 
of each person, not the right, a hint which Can- 
dace received with a deep blush. She looked 
uncomfortable and out of place, thought Cary, 
but she forgot Candace in trying to see where 
her parents were seated. Presently she dis- 
covered them at the head table, with Mr. and 
Mrs. Richards, the Chapins and other promi- 
nent people. Kitty Metcalf was waiting on 
them. Beside her father sat a tiny old woman, 
dressed in shabbv black, with white hair and a 
worn, lined face, to whom Mr. Dexter was pay- 
ing marked attention. 

" Janet,' ' whispered Cary, catching her 
friend's arm, "who is that little old lady sitting 
by Daddy!" 

" Granny Halliday," Janet replied after a 



142 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

glance in the direction indicated. " Candace 's 
grandmother, you know. She hardly ever gets 
down the mountain to church. The Parks must 
have brought her. How nice of Mr. Kichards 
to have her sit at that table! Goodness me! 
are they going to trust Van with a pitcher of 
coffee! I'm glad I'm not sitting at the table 
where he's to pour." 

Van was not the person who came to grief, 
but Cary herself. Turning abruptly from the 
serving-table, she ran into Candace and spilled 
almost a whole dish of peas. Fortunately they 
landed on the floor, not in any one's lap, but 
Cary's apron and white dress were badly 
splashed. 

" Never mind," said Kitty consolingly. 
"Here's a fresh apron, Cary. I brought it in 
case anybody had an accident." 

Her cheeks burning, Cary tied on the dainty 
bit of muslin, deliberately ignoring the dis- 
tressed Candace, who indeed said no word of 
apology for her share of the accident. 

"You fared better than somebody at my 
table," said Maud to Cary in passing. "Mrs. 
Baxter thought the table extended to the very 
edge of the stiff paper covering it, when it 



HARVEST SUPPER 143 

was only sticking out, so she pulled her plate 
forward and the whole thing tipped into her 
lap on top of her feather ruff. That ruff is a 
sight !" 

Maud went on laughing and Cary took her 
refilled dish, giving Candace a wide berth on 
her way to the table. She met with no further 
mishap either in clearing away dishes or serv- 
ing dessert. 

"Have some pie, Cary?" Van asked, meeting 
her a little later, a huge wedge in each hand. 
"I'm staying behind this screen because the 
forks have run short." 

1 ' You could have a fork if you wanted it, Van 
Bichards," said Kitty, smiling at him. 

"I don't want it," admitted Van, sampling 
first one wedge and then the other. "Pie al- 
ways tastes much better eaten this way. IVe 
been trying to catch my mother's eye, but she 
won't look at me. I wonder if she is afraid of 
what she may see." 

"I imagine so," laughed Cary. "My table is 
all cleared, Mrs. Baker. What next?" 

"Nothing. Help yourself to anything you 
want to eat," said the busy head of the serv- 
ing committee. 



H4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Cary sampled the mock-meat loaf, which she 
found much to her taste, drank the coffee she 
was not permitted to have at home, and se- 
lected a piece of lemon-pie, prudently providing 
herself with both fork and plate. Then she 
joined Van, who had finished his pie and was 
gazing over the top of the screen, in much the 
attitude of a Eaphael cherub. 

"Do you know everybody here?" she in- 
quired. 

Van looked around the two big rooms. 
"Yes," he said thoughtfully. "You see that 
fat old woman over there ? She is the best cook 
in Kidgefield. It was her mince-pie I was eat- 
ing just now. We used to have chicken-pie sup- 
pers sometimes, and her pie was always solid 
meat, no bones at all. If you could eat another 
piece, Cary, — mince-pie, I mean, — I can get it 
for you, because through a lucky accident I 
happen to know where the rest of it is. I can 
recommend it without reservation. ' ' 

"I'm not very fond of mince-pie, Van," 
laughed Cary. "I won't deprive you of it. 
Where have you hidden it?" 

"What an unjust thought!" sighed Van. 
"Amy might have had it but I didn't think it 



HARVEST SUPPER 145 

of you, Cary. Ah, the ladies are getting out 
their knitting and we shall hear the parish re- 
ports." 

i ' Why didn 't you bring your knitting ! ' ' asked 
Cary mischievously. 

"I am knitting,' ' said her companion unex- 
pectedly, "a wrister, but it is for a one-armed 



man." 



"What is going on now?" asked Cary in a 
whisper, her attention suddenly distracted, for 
everybody beyond the partition dividing the 
parish house proper from the serving-room had 
suddenly risen, while Mr. Eichards read a brief 
list of names. 

"Sh!" said Van softly, as every head was 
bowed, and for half a minute silence reigned. 

"It is a tribute to the people who have died 
since the last harvest supper," he explained, 
when the rustle of reseating began. "Now 
Father is going to read the honor roll of men 



in service." 



Both Cary and Van were silent as the twenty- 
four names were pronounced. At each, the 
boy's parents, if present, rose, until over forty 
people were standing, from Dr. and Mrs. Chapin 
to old Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, whose tiny cabin on 



146 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Cloud boasted a service flag. Then everybody 
again rose, this time with heads erect, and be- 
gan to sing: " Bless Thon our native land!" 

Gary turned to Van to surprise a look of genu- 
ine emotion on his face, but before she could 
speak, Van muttered something and disap- 
peared, apparently leaving the parish house. 
Cary hardly noticed his going, so interesting 
and impressive did she find the scene before her. 
Her sympathies were keenly touched and she 
was yet absorbed in the parish proceedings 
when some one came to her side. 

"Cary," said a voice, "I'm sorry about those 
peas." 

"Oh, it doesn't matter, Candace," said Cary, 
more pleasantly than would have been possible 
fifteen minutes previously. "I bumped into 
you just as much as you into me. My dress will 
wash and Kitty lent me a fresh apron." 

"That isn't all," said Candace, her tone ex- 
pressing real misery. "I don't know what you 
will think of me, Cary, but, — here's that note- 
book you lost." 

tl ~WlfiatV f exclaimed Cary, turning upon her. 
' ' My note-book ! And you had it all the time ! ' ' 

"I didn't know it," said Candace wretchedly. 



HARVEST SUPPER 147 

"I found it only to-night when Granny wanted 
her black shawl to wear. I had it Hallowe'en 
for the witch's dress and it hasn't been used 
since. The book fell out of it. I suppose that 
I picked it up when I gathered my things that 
next morning. I feel dreadfully about it, 
Cary." 

" Indeed, you ought to," said Cary cruelly. 
"You made me lose my mark for October. It's 
pretty hard not to believe that you didn't do it 
on purpose." 

Candace turned pale. "You have no right 
to think that," she said indignantly. 

"You told me that you didn't see that book," 
Cary went on. "You let me be marked down 
because I couldn't find it, and you received the 
highest mark yourself. Now you bring it back 
and expect me to believe that it was an acci- 
dent." 

"If I took it purposely, what would be the 
use of giving it to you now and telling you about 
it?" demanded Candace with justifiable indig- 
nation. "I should think you would see that if 
I took it deliberately, I wouldn't be very likely 
ever to return it." 

Cary did see that and was silenced. 



148 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"To-morrow morning I shall go to Miss Du- 
bois and tell her about it," Candace continued, 
pursuing her advantage. ' ' She is just in mark- 
ing if she is severe, and she can't help giving 
you credit for your October work when she un- 
derstands how it happened.' ' 

"Well," said Cary, "if you do that— Oh, 
I suppose it is all right, Candace, — yes, of 
course, it is, — but I don't want to talk about it 
and I wish it hadn't happened." 

Candace turned away, her throat feeling very 
lumpy. To confess to Cary had been anything 
but easy, and Cary's last words left her feel- 
ing more hurt and mortified than ever. 



CHAPTEE XI 



KITTY 'S WEDDING 



A few days later, Cary, coming home from 
school, gave an exclamation as she found on the 
hall table a letter directed to her, and post- 
marked from a town in Texas. Her mother 
smiled, for she had expected that cry of 
pleasure. 

"It must be from Janet's brother !" Cary 
called excitedly. "Mammy, what fun! ,, 

"Bring it out to lunch,' ' said her mother from 
the dining-room. "We have already begun.' ' 

Cary could not wait to eat before opening 
this important missive. With her mother's 
permission she tore it open at once. 

"What a nice, long one!" she began. "Oh, 
let me read it to you now. I don't care if things 
are getting cold. It's very important, for I 
never had a letter from a soldier before. Just 
listen. 

"My dear Miss Cary:" "how nice of him 

not to be stiff and call me Miss Dexter!" she 

interpolated. "I was tremendously pleased 

149 



150 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

with the helmet you made for me which came 
yesterday in the package from home. It is a 
splendid fit and I really like it better than either 
of the two I had, because the opening is big 
enough for my whole face and I never could 
stand anything over my mouth. I thank you a 
thousand times. 

"I am through my work now and just hang- 
ing around waiting for my commission. I have 
qualified as a Reserve Military Aviator, in other 
words, have won my wings. Having finished 
everything, I haven't had much chance to fly, 
lately, for of course the planes are wanted for 
cadets still at work, but the other day I received 
permission to take a 'bus,' and went off for a 
joy ride. 

"I had a fine time soaring around and trying 
stunts, swooping down on a big interurban car 
and making the motorman think I was going to 
break my neck, but I was going so much faster 
than he that I could stop to give him but one 
thrill. After a while, something went wrong 
with my engine, so I shut off power and vol- 
planed down on the prairie. 

1 ' The place I landed was a level bit in rather 
rolling country, the great swells of the prairie, 
with nothing living in sight except the flocks 
of birds that flew up before the airplane. The 
engine was very balky and I was intent on it, 
when I looked around and caught a thrill my- 
self. Coming behind me, with noses up and in- 
tense interest written on their faces was a mob 
of Texas cattle, cows and steers. 

"I had landed into the wind and I suppose 
they either saw me come down or perhaps 
scented me, at any rate, there they were, com- 



KITTY'S WEDDING 151 

ing with a purposeful sort of manner that I 
didn't fancy. Cattle are very curious, you 
know, and probably they wanted to see what 
was going on. 

"Well, I worked at my engine like mad, and 
fortunately the noise of the motor would drive 
them to a little distance, but just as soon as 
I.shut it off, back they would come, each time a 
little nearer. And it looked as though they 
were feeling annoyed as well as curious. I 
wasn't sure how the wings of my bus would 
stand a charge if they chose to make one, so 
it was up to me to get that engine going. But 
the old thing kept missing fire, and the cattle be- 
gan to circle about me, still at a good distance. 
Pretty soon two or three began to paw the 
ground and rumble in their throats and act gen- 
erally as though the fight was on. 

"I decided I'd better find a healthier place 
to repair that machinery and I was quite sure 
the engine would hold for me to get up a height 
sufficient so that I could volplane down again 
into a less populous bit of prairie a few miles 
on. So I hustled into my safety-belt and pre- 
pared to leave. 

"An airplane when it rises runs for some 
distance on its landing wheels before it leaves 
the ground. Imagine my feelings when I found 
a regular old patriarch of a Texan steer planted 
right in my path! If I hit him I wasn't sure 
which would be butted off the track, but in the 
second I had to think, I took the chance of his 
turning tail, and he did. I cleared his back by 
about a foot, and when I looked down, he was 
still headed for the Gulf of Mexico. The rest 
were galloping madly in every direction. 



152 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

" After all, I wasn't obliged to laud again, 
for my engine experienced a change of heart and 
gave no further trouble. I am still wondering 
when that steer stopped running. 

"As soon as I am commissioned I am going 
to make a big effort to get a furlough and come 
home for Christmas. If I am stuck as an in- 
structor, — kept to teach others, — I may not get 
my pass, but if I am posted for active service, 
meaning probably France, I shall surely be per- 
mitted to come home first. And then I shall 
have the pleasure of meeting my sister 's friend. 

" Cordially yours, 

"Arthur E. Chapin. 

"Gracious, wasn't that exciting !" gasped 
Cary, concluding the letter. "Wouldn't he 
have been in a fix if he hadn 't managed to start 
the engine ?" 

"A decidedly dangerous one," said her 
father. "The cattle of the prairies are used 
only to men on horseback and while they are 
easily managed as a rule, they will usually turn 
at once upon a cowboy who is thrown from hi§ 
horse. "With his airplane damaged he was 
really in rather a serious situation." 

"But what a nice, friendly letter," said Mrs. 
Dexter. "Now truly, wasn't that better than 
risking a 'war son' you didn't know anything 
about?" 



KITTY'S WEDDING 153 

"Yes, Mammy," Cary agreed happily. 
"Wasn't it kind of him to write more than just 
to thank me? I hope he will get his pass. The 
Chapins are so anxious to see him. ' ' 

"Everybody speaks of Arthur as being a re- 
markably fine fellow, ' ' said her father. ' ' Come, 
Cary, eat your luncheon.' ' 

"Both the Doctor and Mrs. Chapin felt dread- 
fully to have him go, but Janet says that they 
would not say anything to prevent him and are 
proud that he chose to volunteer so quickly." 

"As so many other parents have felt," said 
her mother softly. "With most it is a willing 
sacrifice, for they cannot do less than the boys 
themselves. That is a very nice letter, Cary, 
and it is evident that a nice boy wrote it. We 
shall all be interested to see him when he comes. 
There's the telephone." 

"It is for you, Cary," said Lizzie, appearing 
in the dining-room. Though she persisted in 
addressing Mrs. Dexter as Miss Anne, she called 
her husband Charlie, and nothing could induce 
her to honor the daughter of the house with any 
prefix whatever. 

"It doesn't look as though Cary would get her 
luncheon eaten," sighed Mrs. Dexter after some 



154 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

moments, listening to the series of exclamations 
that formed Cary's share of the dialogue. 
"Something exciting must have happened.' ' 

Presently Cary came flying back, her eyes 
wide with astonishment. "Mammy," she ex- 
claimed dramatically, "look at the clock! It's 
twenty minutes to two. At four, Kitty Met- 
calf is to be married to Anson Brooks and all 
the girls must hustle to get the church trimmed 
somehow!" 

"Married!" repeated Mrs. Dexter, evincing 
surprise sufficient to satisfy her daughter. 

"Yes," declared Cary, eating her cold lunch- 
eon in hasty mouthfuls. "Janet says the tel- 
egram from Anson came about noon saying he 
was ordered on active service, and had five days ' 
leave and would Kitty marry him immediately. 
His train gets in at three and the ceremony is 
set for four. They will leave town at once and 
she will stay with him till he goes. He 's a naval 
ensign, you know, and they think he must have 
been assigned to a boat escorting transports. 
Kitty hasn't her wedding dress made, but she 
has a pretty white one she's never worn, and 
she wants to be married in church. Of course 
she doesn't expect it to be decorated, doesn't 



KITTY'S WEDDING 155 

dream of it, but Maud and Dorothy want to 
surprise her and so they are asking everybody 
to come and help. The boys are already get- 
ting pine boughs and we are to beg chrysan- 
themums from everybody who has any. I may 
pick all that are left in our garden, mayn't I? 
Mrs. Price has some white potted ones in her 
little hot-house and she is going to lend them. 
Janet says it will have to be very simple, but it 
will please Kitty so much to have us do it. And 
of course with a wedding at four hours ' notice, 
lots of relatives can't get here, so Kitty wants 
all her friends and all the church people who 
care to see her married, to come. Isn't it ex- 
citing? No, I couldn't eat anything more; I'll 
go pick the chrysanthemums." 

Cary's last words sounded from the hall 
where she was getting into cap and coat, for the 
November day was chilly. The next moment 
she was seen flying through the frost-stricken 
garden to a sheltered spot where some red but- 
ton-chrysanthemums still held up courageous 
heads. 

* * Married on four hours ' notice and with only 
five days before her husband must leave her!" 
said Mrs. Dexter in a tone of sympathy. 



156 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

i t Poor Kitty ! No, — happy, patriotic Kitty ! I 
wonder if I can help them. Of course, with no 
florist in town, it is quite a problem." 

But in this case, as in others, the old proverb 
about many hands making light work held true. 
For the next hour the pretty little stone church 
was the scene of excited labor and, for a time, 
great confusion. The expressman bringing 
Mrs. Price *s cherished pots of great white blos- 
soms, blanketed his horse and stayed to help. 
The girls ran about, getting in one another's 
way, mixing decorations and hurrying without 
need. But Maud and Dorothy, who loved Kitty 
dearly, kept their heads and straightened the 
mistakes of their excited young assistants. By 
quarter past three, the church was fragrant with 
pine boughs prettily arranged, the pews of the 
center aisle gay with white-tied flowers, the 
potted plants on the chancel steps, and the altar 
itself beautiful with the choicest blossoms se- 
lected from the many gardens that gladly 
yielded anything they had for Kitty's wedding. 
When the first guest entered, no one could have 
guessed that all had been done at such short 
notice. Kitty would have the surprise of her 



KITTY'S WEDDING 157 

life, were her thoughts not too much occupied to 
notice the loving tribute of her friends. 

And so many and so varied were the people 
that filled the church ! Cary, sitting with Janet, 
watched them curiously. Mrs. Metcalf was 
known for her neighborliness and kindness to 
all, and not a few poorly-clad women came from 
the lower village, knowing Miss Kitty through 
her visits to their less fortunate homes. The 
laundress came, the clerk from the grocery came, 
even the postmaster, who had delivered many 
letters directed in one hand-writing, dropped in 
to attend this, the first war-wedding in Ridge- 
field. 

The organist chanced to be out of town, but 
Maud Hilton was delighted at the opportunity 
to play for Kitty, and was softly filling the 
church with music as people came and came. 
Promptly at four, the door into the vestry 
opened and Mr. Richards came out, accompanied 
by a tall bronzed young man in blue naval uni- 
form, with a fine, pleasant face, close-cut hair, 
and bearing on his collar the anchors, on sleeve 
and shoulder the star and bar of his rank. 

Maud's fingers broke into the wedding march 



158 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

from Lohengrin just as Mr. Bichards stopped 
on the first step of the chancel, and Anson, at 
his left, turned and stood at the top of the center 
aisle. He was very pale as he faced the church 
full of people, many of whom knew him well. 
Yet his eyes never wavered from Kitty's face, 
his Kitty, coming to meet him on her father's 
arm, her eyes only for Anson. As she reached 
the head of the aisle, Anson stepped forward 
and offered his arm. Kitty dropped that of her 
father. 

"Dearly beloved brethren," came Mr. Rich- 
ards' familiar voice, "we are gathered together 
here in the sight of God and in the face of this 
company to join together this man and this 
woman in holy matrimony." 

Cary craned her neck. Kitty wore a simple 
white gown, no gloves and her mother's wed- 
ding-veil. She carried the lilies Anson's 
thoughtfulness provided. Both repeated the 
first responses audibly; Mr. Metcalf placed 
Kitty's hand in Anson's and stepped back be- 
side his wife in the front pew. Now they went 
up to the altar to take their vows. More than 
a few eyes filled with sudden sympathy for 
Kitty, whose clear voice broke when she reached 



KITTY'S WEDDING 159 

one phrase, — poor Kitty, who could not say 
"till death do us part." Yet no one but Anson 
saw the steadying hand Mr. Eichards laid upon 
her wrist, and Anson himself was almost as 
agitated. 

Well, it was over, that first war-wedding. 
Kitty smiled bravely right and left as she came 
down the aisle, but Anson's young face was set 
and determined, as of one who sees a grim duty 
before him from which he will not flinch. No 
one left the church until Mr. and Mrs. Metcalf 
and Anson 's parents followed and all had driven 
away. No one even spoke to them, lest one 
moment of those precious five days be usurped, 
every second of which should be consecrated to 
each other. 

"It was sweet, wasn't it, Mammy!" said 
Cary, coming home utterly tired out with excite- 
ment and exertion. "Kitty did love our doing 
the church. Mrs. Metcalf called Maud and Dor- 
othy up to tell them so and asked them to thank 
us all. Wasn't Anson swell in his blue uniform 
and decorations ? But, Mammy, I think a wed- 
ding is kind of unsatisfactory. We flew around 
so hard getting that church fixed and then every- 
thing was over in ten minutes. And I suppose 



160 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

if there had been more time to get ready, every- 
body would have worked harder and longer, 
but in the end it would have been over just as 
quick." 

" Indeed it was a charming wedding," her 
mother agreed. " Kitty 's old-fashioned veil 
was quite in keeping with her short dress. I 
never saw but one long wedding-veil that I 
thought pretty. Most of them look like a heavy 
freight train pulling up the aisle. But I believe 
you would prefer a wedding in the Greek church. 
There the church ceremony lasts two or three 
hours, and besides that there is a civil marriage 
before a magistrate." 

' i Two hours seems better worth all the work, ' ' 
observed Cary, "but it must be pretty hard on 
the bride. Kitty looked as though ten minutes 
was all she could stand. I guess, Mammy, it's 
better as it is." 



CHAPTER XII 

THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 

A week later the little war-bride came quietly 
back to Ridgefield alone, leaving her young hus- 
band in New York, bound for an "unknown des- 
tination. ' ' 

Kitty's friends welcomed her gladly, would 
have permitted her to pose as a martyr, were 
such her wish, but nothing was further from 
Kitty's thoughts. Instead, she returned to her 
accustomed home and social duties in her own 
cheerful way, with only a graver, sweeter, more 
mature expression on her face to mark the 
change from Kitty Metcalf to Katherine Brooks. 

For the younger girls the excitement of the 
wedding was soon eclipsed by other events of 
importance; for Janet by news that Arthur, 
having won his commission, had every hope of 
obtaining the coveted pass and coming home 
for Christmas ; for Cary by the immediate ap- 
proach of the Hatch prize-speaking. 

161 



1 62 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

During the days when the High School was an 
endowed academy, a trustee instituted this com- 
petition, leaving to the school a sum of money 
yielding two annual prizes of ten dollars each, 
to be awarded during the term to the boy and 
girl making the best declamation. The entire 
school was required to compete. From each of 
the four classes one boy and one girl were 
chosen by a critical committee of teachers, and 
the eight finally recited before impartial judges, 
usually from out of town, and in the presence 
of a large audience upon the evening appointed. 

To win the Hatch prize was a coveted honor, 
even to be one of the chosen eight a position of 
envy, and to not a few the acquirement of ten 
dollars was much. Naturally Candace was one 
of these last, and she threw all her energies into 
the preliminary speaking. 

Cary cared chiefly for the honor, though even 
she had uses for an extra ten dollars, but she 
was also conscious of a desire which she knew 
to be unworthy, to defeat Candace. After due 
thought and consideration she chose for the pre- 
liminaries, Alfred Xoyes' "Song of Sherwood," 
a poem which she recited extremely well and 
expressively, having heard the poet himself 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 163 

read it. All the Saturday after deciding upon 
it, she went around the house declaiming frag- 
ments : 

" 'Love is in the greenwood, dawn is in the skies, 
And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes. 
Hark ! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep ! 
Marian is waiting; is Robin Hood asleep?'" 

On Monday at recess, she reported her choice, 
as required, to Miss Hathaway. 

"Gary, that has already been taken. I'm 
sorry, but this morning before school, Candace 
Halliday told me that the 'Song of Sherwood' 
was her selection." 

"Bother!" Cary exclaimed. "How trying! 
Isn't that horrid! I could just as well have 
come to you myself before school. Does that 
mean I can't take it?" 

"I'm afraid so," replied the teacher, "un- 
less Candace has something else she cares to 
recite. You might speak to her about it." 

"Xo, I don't want to do that," said Cary 
quickly and not very pleasantly. She went to 
her next recitation, which happened to be alge- 
bra with her father, in so troubled a mood that 
she could not give her attention to the lesson 
and soon made a mortifying failure. "Was it 



1 64 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

accident, when Cary rather pettishly declared 
her inability to solve her problem, that led Mr. 
Dexter to call next npon Candace, who explained 
the theorem correctly and promptly? Accident 
or design, it proved the last straw to Cary, 
whose eyes filled with tears. She tried to con- 
ceal them but felt certain that, later on, she 
should hear something from Daddy about that 
lesson. 

Her expectations proved correct. After 
luncheon, he called her into the study to ask 
rather gravely what had been the trouble in 
class. Cary had no choice but to tell the whole 
story. 

"It was my poem,'' she ended, "and I think 
it is a shame, when I chose it three days ago, 
and I might just as easily have spoken to Miss 
Hathaway the minute I reached school. I was 
there early enough." 

"I am sorry for your disappointment, ' ' said 
her father, "but really, Cary, I think it is easier 
for you to find another than for Candace. If 
you still wish one of Noyes', how about the 
legend of Nelson? 'With the patch on his eye 
and a pinned-up sleeve, and a soul like a North 
sea storm.' That is every bit as stirring as 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 165 

the 'Song of Sherwood' and in these days more 
appropriate. You know that in the battle off 
Jutland, the English sailors swore that Nelson 
was with them in the thick of the fight, that he 
was seen on more than one ship. The old boy 
promised to come, you know. 

" 'If England needs me, dead, 
Or living, I'll rise that day! 
I'll rise from the darkness under the sea 
Ten thousand miles away.' " 

Cary listened critically while her father read 
her the whole legend of the "Admiral's Ghost.'' 

"I think I will take it," she said as he fin- 
ished. "Only I can never do it like you. 
Eeally, I don't know but it gives a chance for 
more varied expression than Sherwood. That 
is just beautiful music." 

"Don't be disappointed if Candace is chosen 
after all," said Mr. Dexter as Cary took the 
book and stood looking into it. "She speaks 
extremely well." 

After Cary left the study, Mr. Dexter, as was 
customary in any perplexity, sought his wife. 
"Anne," said he in a puzzled tone, "isn't there 
a way, without hurting Cary's feelings, to get 
her a little off this idea of competing for the 



1 66 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Hatch prize? Cary speaks clearly and with ex- 
pression, but she hasn't the power, either in 
voice or personality, of Candace Halliday. She 
or Janet is rather sure to be chosen from Cary's 
class. I am sorry Cary is so keen on it, espe- 
cially since she and Candace unluckily chose the 
same poem. ,, 

"I am afraid she will be disappointed,' ' said 
Mrs. Dexter after a moment. "I wish she could 
see for herself that Candace needs the money 
and be willing that she should win. Cary has 
never quite got over that affair of the French 
exercise-book. I don't myself understand why, 
for Candace was much distressed, and explained 
so fully to Miss Dubois, that she gave Cary full 
marks for October. Still, they were below Can- 
dace 's and it seems to rankle, though a sense 
of justice ought to show her that it was not Can- 
dace 's fault. But I'll do what I can, Charles." 

After some thought, Mrs. Dexter gently re- 
marked to Cary that it would be wiser not to 
care too much about the preliminary competi- 
tion, lest she be disappointed, but she felt that 
it did no good. On the fateful day she was not 
surprised when Cary came home with face 
flushed and eyes glittering. 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 167 

"Candace is chosen," she announced 
abruptly, "and Larry for the boys. Now, 
Mammy, please don't say anything, because I 
am sure, and always shall be, that if I could 
have kept Sherwood, my dear Sherwood, I might 
have stood a better chance. I just don't want 
to talk about it." 

"How did Janet do?" Mrs. Dexter asked. 

"Not as well as usual," Cary replied, tossing 
her books upon the table. "She was upset be- 
cause May walked in her sleep and knocked a 
plant-stand down the front stairs in the middle 
of the night and scared herself and everybody 
else. May is dear," Cary went on with a de- 
termined change of subject. "Have you ever 
seen her knit? She can do it without looking 
on and Janet says whenever they have callers, 
May rushes for her knitting and sits with eyes 
fixed on the ceiling. Little sisters are rather 
nice, aren't they, Chrissy?" she ended, giving 
Christine a hug that made her squeal. 

Mrs. Dexter said nothing more and the prize- 
speaking was not again mentioned in the But- 
terfly House until the evening for the final con- 
test, the last day before school closed for the 
Christmas holidays. 



1 68 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Cary," she said to her daughter, "you will 
come with Daddy and me, won't you?" 

"Are you going?" Cary inquired, looking up 
from a bag she was making for Janet. 

' ' Oh, yes, it is expected of me. Don 't you be- 
lieve it is expected of you also?" 

Cary thought for a moment. Her pride was 
considerable and she did not wish her school- 
mates to criticize. 

"Yes, I'll come," she said. "Van is going 
to speak something from Julius Caesar and Amy 
says he does it very well. I think I'd like to 
hear him." 

"Then run up and put on your blue silk 
dress," said her mother, greatly relieved at this 
ready acquiescence. "You can slip into that 
quickly and not keep us waiting." 

Having risen to the occasion, Cary's conduct 
left nothing to be desired. She met friends and 
acquaintances smilingly, responded cordially to 
all who, greeting Mrs. Dexter, spoke also to her ; 
she listened with a very good counterfeit of in- 
terest and approval to the eight declamations 
upon widely differing subjects, acted as though 
she enjoyed the music while the judges were out 
making their decision, appeared excited when, 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 169 

with the opening door of the council room, the 
music ended abruptly in the middle of a bar, for 
the orchestra of the Eidgefield High School 
could not stop to finish any selection when the 
announcement of the Hatch prize winners im- 
pended. The chairman of the school committee 
received the written verdict of the judges, and 
standing on the platform, took so long to ad- 
just his glasses and read it, that the young peo- 
ple fairly squirmed with impatience. 

"The judges award the prizes to *A Song of 
Sherwood,' spoken by Miss Candace Halliday, 
and to Mark Antony's oration, delivered by 
Evan Kichards," he said after what seemed in- 
terminable eulogies on all eight speakers. 

Tremendous applause filled the hall. Mrs. 
Dexter did not dare look at her daughter till 
she discovered that Cary was applauding most 
decorously, though it might have been wholly 
for Van, who had spoken with real talent and 
great force. Watching her opportunity, Cary 
congratulated him heartily and then turned 
promptly to Candace, whose face was flushed 
with excitement and delight. 

"I'm ever so glad you won," her pleased 
mother overheard her saying. "You were 



170 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

simply splendid and certainly deserved the 
prize. ' ' 

"Cary, you are a darling,' ' said Mrs. Dexter 
when they were at home again. "I was so glad 
that you spoke to Candace. She would have 
felt hurt if you hadn't." 

"Mammy," said Cary, half in fun, half in 
earnest, "being your very own daughter, I can't 
be wholly horrid. Sometimes I think you for- 
get that I am your child. And now for the 
holidays! To-morrow is Saturday, and even 
though Christmas comes Monday, Janet and I 
are going to take an hour in the afternoon to 
skate. The ice is clear on the lake and Cutler 
says it is perfectly safe." 

"You must plan to be out a part of every day 
this vacation," agreed her mother, and on the 
following afternoon, she took pains to tear Cary 
from some fascinating Christmas work and send 
her over to get Janet. Having watched her 
down the path, gay in her pretty sport coat and 
cap, skates clicking to every happy skip, she 
turned to some work that was being hidden from 
Cary's eyes. She was still busy when her hus- 
band came and offered to read aloud while the 
light lasted. With its fading, he stretched laz- 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 171 

ily on the couch, enjoying to the full the first 
day of his well-earned vacation. 

They were still talking in the firelit dusk 
when Cary came running up the walk and burst 
tumultuously into the room. 

" Mammy, the most exciting thing has hap- 
pened !" she exclaimed. "You can never im- 
agine ! ' ' 

"Can't If" drawled her father. "My im- 
agination will stretch from here to kingdom 



come. ' ' 



"You can't guess this," Cary went on. 
"You know, Mammy, Arthur Chapin was ex- 
pected for Christmas, and of course they were 
perfectly delighted, because he may go very 
soon to France. He wrote that he could have 
ten days' leave and Mrs. Chapin has been plan- 
ning for weeks, and cooking all the things Ar- 
thur likes. Well, when I went over just now 
for Janet, she said they received a telegram 
this morning that his pass was revoked and he 
could not come. 

"You can use your imagination now, Daddy. 
Think how the Chapins felt. Janet said her 
mother broke down and cried, and they just 
hated the cakes and pies they had made. And 



172 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

the Doctor felt dreadfully. But after the first, 
Mrs. Chapin said they must all brace up, be- 
cause it would make Arthur sorry to know they 
couldn't stand what he had to. So everybody 
tried to be cheerful and Janet went skating with 
the rest of us and May was sliding. When we 
came from the lake it was just sunset and the 
evening train was coming up the valley, looking 
so pretty with its lighted windows against the 
snow. We watched it into the station and then 
I went home with Janet, to see her helmet she 
is knitting on four needles. We were all in the 
sitting-room when the outside door opened, but 
we supposed it was the Doctor. In just a min- 
ute the sitting-room door opened softly. I was 
right opposite so I looked up before the others 
and there stood a tall young man in khaki. It 
was only a second before May saw him and she 
gave one scream. I knew it must be Arthur for 
he has smiling eyes and wavy hair like Janet's. 
Mrs. Chapin hugged him and cried on his shoul- 
der and Janet seized his other arm and May 
must have choked him because she got both 
arms round his neck and hung down his back, 
kicking her heels. Now, isn't that exciting, 
Mammy V 9 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 173 

"Oh, I'm so glad for Mrs. Chapin!" ex- 
claimed her mother. "How much Christmas 
will mean to her with her bov at home! ,, 

"I thought I'd better leave," Cary went on, 
"because of course thev had so much to sav to 
one another, so I began to hustle into my wraps, 
thinking I could sneak out while they were 
laughing and crying and talking all at once. 
But I couldn't right away, because Janet 
stopped me and introduced me, and Arthur 
thanked me again for knitting him that helmet. 
Oh, he looked so nice, Mammy! I'm so glad 
you didn't let me make a helmet for anybody 
else. He is tall and slim and his uniform fits 
like a gloye, and he has silver bars on his shoul- 
ders and a shield with two wings and a gold 
U. S. on his left breast and cunning crossed 
signal flags on his collar. He's very good- 
looking and I don't blame Janet for being crazy 
about him. 

"Well, I tried again to get away but before I 
could manage it, the Doctor came. He was 
walking slowly and as though he was tired and 
kind of discouraged. As he opened the door, 
Arthur skipped behind it and the rest hurried 
to act as though nothing had happened. They 



174 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

couldn't very well because there was a sort of 
feeling in the air and Janet was knitting upside 
down and May giggling in a perfectly crazy 
way, and Mrs. Chapin 's eyes were so happy. 
The Doctor saw right off that something was 
unusual and he stopped to look about. Arthur 
slid an arm round his neck from behind and 
kissed him. Dr. Chapin didn't speak, he didn't 
say one word, only sat right down in the big 
leather chair and pulled Arthur into his lap. 
Then Janet and her mother piled on either arm 
of the chair and May climbed on top of Arthur, 
and I scuttled out through the dining-room. I 
guess it is lucky the stoutest chair in the room 
happened to be nearest Dr. Chapin !" concluded 
Cary. 

"Oh, how lovely for them all!" said Mrs. 
Dexter, her eyes filling with sympathetic tears. 
"What a beautiful Christmas they will have to- 
gether ! I wish that might be possible for every 
mother who has given her boy to his country." 

"He got permission at the very last mo- 
ment," Cary went on, "but didn't telegraph 
because he was afraid the trains would be late 
or something would happen so he couldn't get 
here. I'm crazy for you to see him, Mammy; 



THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 175 

he is perfectly fascinating in his uniform. 
We'll watch for him in church to-morrow." 

Next morning, even had Arthur not been es- 
corting a mother whose face shone with love 
and happy pride, Mrs. Dexter would have 
known when he appeared, because of the sud- 
den little rustle that passed over the assembled 
congregation. From all parts of the church 
came welcoming glances and smiles, for almost 
everybody there knew and loved Arthur. Slim 
and straight he stood in his well-fitting uniform 
with the silver bars and the "wings" he had 
worked so hard to earn, but his bearing was 
boyishly modest. Indeed, his eyes were only 
for his mother and the hymnal he shared with 
her, but once he looked from her face straight 
to the service flag hanging from the chancel 
arch, a flag where one star shone for him. 



CHAPTER XIII 

OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 

Though feeling herself truly a Ridgefield 
girl, Cary rather expected to miss former con- 
ditions at Christmas, but found herself pleas- 
antly mistaken. The Butterfly House with its 
sunny rooms and open fires seemed like a story- 
book home, and she found herself enjoying to 
the utmost, charming little local customs. On 
Christmas eve it was delightful to be with one 
of the groups of young people that strayed 
around the town singing Christmas carols and 
hymns, her group composed of Janet and Ar- 
thur, Amy, Cutler, and two or three of the older 
girls. Promptly at nine, the music ended, for 
none of the parents concerned believed in per- 
mitting their children to wander about even so 
quiet a place as Ridgefield into the small hours 
of the morning. 

After the carols, Mrs. Dexter invited all 
Cary 's group to share hot chocolate and cookies 

176 



OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 177 

before the open fire, and Arthur was persuaded 
to talk of his work and give them a vivid picture 
of life in an aviation camp. 

Then even a war Christmas could not be de- 
pressing with such a bit of sunshine in the house 
as little Christine, perfectly delighted with the 
smallest surprise or the tiniest gift. Directly 
after the holiday, Cary and her father went to 
the city for a ten days' visit among their many 
friends, a visit crowded full of good times. 
When Cary again came back to Kidgefield, Ar- 
thur's leave was over and the Chapins were 
facing the task of missing him daily and being 
brave. 

Naturally during his stay and Cary's absence, 
Amy had seen less of her friends and was glad 
indeed when the usual condition of things was 
restored. 

When Kidgefield visited the main part of the 
village, it had a lovable way of "stepping over 
street.' ' The expression at first amused Cary, 
then she grew to like it and finally ended by 
adopting it. One morning in early January, 
toward the end of vacation, she announced her 
intention of going over street to buy some yarn 
and seeing Janet on the way. 



178 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Buy a yeast-cake also," said her mother, 
who was writing letters. "I suppose you will 
be back for luncheon 1 ' ' 

"Oh, yes," said Cary, but she surprised the 
family by returning within half an hour. 

"Here's Lizzie's yeast-cake, but I didn't stop 
for the yarn. I met Amy and she wants us all 
to go snow-shoeing. Cutler says the snow is 
fairly good. He and Van are going and Janet 
and May, too, because May has a new pair of 
shoes she is crazy to try." 

"Aren't you going to wait until after lunch- 
eon?" asked her mother. 

"Listen, Mammy, you haven't heard all the 
plan. We are to take sandwiches and perhaps 
build a fire, and picnic somewhere on the Thorn 
mountain road." 

"Is it all right for her to go, Charles?" asked 
Mrs. Dexter of her husband, busy with his type- 
writer over some work for the Public Safety 
Committee. 

"Yes, if Cutler is of the party. I would trust 
him anywhere." 

"Won't you come too, Daddy?" asked Cary, 
busy pulling on heavy woolen stockings and 



OFF OX SNOW-SHOES 179 

changing her boots for high moccasins. "We'd 
love to have vou. " 

"I would if it wasn't for this report, but I 
must get it into shape for a meeting at four this 
afternoon. Good luck! The day isn't cold and 
you ought to have fine sport." 

Gary was ready when the party paused at the 
gate of the Butterfly House, all with warm out- 
ing clothes, moccasins and snow-shoes, even 
little May, who was very skillful and kept up 
with the rest without special effort. For a time 
they straggled on more or less in single file, but 
after leaving the town, Cary came abreast of 
Janet. 

"I've something to tell you," she began, 
"something very sweet." 

"What is it?" asked Janet, turning with the 
little look of patience that had lingered about 
her face ever since Arthur went back to his duty, 
— a duty that took him to "an unknown place." 

"Last night," said Cary, coming as close as 
snow-shoes permitted, "Father and Mother 
went out to dinner and I put Chrissy to bed. 
She's noticed the service flags on the different 
houses and asked why we didn't have one, so 



180 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Mammy explained that everywhere there was a 
flag and a star, it meant somebody's son had 
gone to war, and we didn't have any boy to go. 

"It was just sunset when I took Chrissy up- 
stairs, a dim dusky red kind of sunset, and very 
bright above the glow the evening star was 
shining. Chrissy looked at the clouds and the 
star and said she guessed God had put out His 
service flag. ' ' 

"The darling !" exclaimed Janet. "How 
sweet of her ! ' ' 

"Wasn't it?" Cary agreed. "Mother knew 
you'd like it." 

"It is a lovely thought," said Janet. "And 
it does seem, Cary, as though Christ really must 
be with the boys at the front. Arthur isn't 
the kind who ever says much about things like 
that, and when he was home just now, he acted 
like a perfect kid, turned a somersault in the 
living-room, and chased me around the table, 
and hung about the kitchen to scrape the cake 
dish, but the letter that came yesterday, the one 
that means he is going to France, was so dear 
and loving. He told Mother not to worry about 
him, for he was with a fine bunch of fellows and 
that everywhere he went he carried with him 



OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 181 

the memory of his home, and then he said: 
'You know just that is enough to keep a fellow 
out of any temptation, but somehow God seems 
very real and close to us now, and death, if it 
comes, isn't anything that matters/ 

"When I write, I'll tell Arthur about Chris- 
sy's service flag," she added after a moment, 
"and then, when he sees the evening star, he 
can know we are thinking that, too. May said 
a cunning thing the other day. She was read- 
ing the ' Cave Twins ' and in one place, the cave- 
mother tells Fire-top, the boy twin, to 'shut 
up.' May read it and then said in the most 
shocked tone: 'Such language! And from a 
mother!' " 

"I can't imagine either my mother or yours 
saying it to any of us," laughed Cary, "but I 
suppose some mothers might. I think Mrs. 
Eichards must feel like saying it to Van. I was 
there the other day when Van rushed into the 
house, shouting for 'Ma!' Mrs. Eichards said 
pleasantly, 'Evan, you know I don't like you 
to call me that.' So then, just to tease, Van 
said 'Ma — Ma,' with a long pause between the 
syllables, and then he hugged her and told her 
she was 'some old girl!' " 



i8 2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

" Isn't he funny!" laughed Janet. "Do you 
know he gave half his prize money to the Ked 
Cross ? Nobody suggested it ; he chose to do it 
of his own accord, but he insisted on joining his 
dog and Amy's cat as members! I guess the 
committee must have thought he was crazy, only 
Mr. Gill has charge of it and he of course, knows 
Van. ' ' 

Half-way up the Thorn mountain road, Amy 
stopped. * i I think I won 't go any farther, ' ' she 
said. "I can't for the life of me, keep this 
strap tight enough and I'm getting tired." 

"Let's eat our lunch then," suggested Janet. 
"If you really feel you can't go on, perhaps 
May will turn back with you, but we must have 
the picnic first or she'll be dreadfully disap- 
pointed." 

Amy agreed and called to the rest a short dis- 
tance ahead. "Picnic here?" asked Cutler. 
"Van and I are always ready to eat." 

After building a little fire by the side of the 
stone wall, more for fun than anything else, they 
proceeded to lunch, everything tasting remark- 
ably good and disappearing remarkably fast. 
Indeed, the whole party laughed when the last 



OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 183 

crumb vanished to the sound of the noon whis- 
tles blowing over Kidgefield. 

"And we are used to having lunch at half- 
past one, after school,' ' said Janet. "Now, 
May, ducky, you will go back with Amy, won't 
you? You see the rest of us want to climb at 
least part way up Thorn, and it is too far for 
you." 

May, who was a sunny child, and fond of 
Amy, agreed without protest. 

"We will take the thermos bottles," said 
Amy. ' ' They aren 't heavy and they '11 be out of 
your way." 

"I suppose it is too hard a climb for May," 
Cary observed, waving her hand to the two dis- 
appearing around a curve, "but I wish Amy 
was going with us." 

"Amy," commented Van, "is all right at a 
picnic on fairly level ground, under what you 
might call civilized conditions, but really, she 
isn't much consolation on a mountain. The 
place she walks is rougher and the side she 
climbs is steeper and the water she falls into is 
wetter than anybody else ever finds." 

Cutler grinned at this summary of the luxury- 



1 84 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

loving Amy, who in truth did prefer her outings 
under comfortable circumstances. 

Minus packets of lunch and with nothing to 
carry, they made good speed up the short way 
between their picnic place and the cottage on 
Thorn. 

" Let's stop and ask Candace to go with us," 
Janet suggested. 

"You ask her," said Cary. "I don't want 
to go in and if we all stop at the door we '11 have 
to. Van and I'll keep on through the pasture." 

Cutler delayed with Janet, and the others 
were half way up the steep cleared slope be- 
tween the cottage and the wood-crowned summit 
of Thorn before they left the yard. 

"Candace would like to come," Janet re- 
ported, finally overtaking the advance guard, 
"but Granny doesn't seem quite well so she 
doesn't want to leave her. And Candace thinks 
it is going to snow. ' ■ 

"Snow!" scoffed Cary, looking at the bright 
sunshine all about them. "How absurd!" 

"I'm not so sure," said Cutler quietly. 
"Those clouds in the west look like it. If the 
wind changes, we may get it, but I hope it will 
hold off till we have started back again." 



OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 185 

In a few minutes they plunged into the woods 
on Thorn, at first quite free from underbrush, 
but becoming ever more dense. Cutler went 
first, followed by Van and the girls in single file. 
Though there was no visible path and appar- 
ently nothing to indicate the proper direction, 
Cutler did not waver, except to skirt an occa- 
sional fallen tree. He knew and loved the five 
mountains of the Ridge and often camped on 
them for pleasure. 

"Do you know where we are, Janet V 3 asked 
Cary over her shoulder. 

* ' Only that we are on Thorn, ' ' came the cheer- 
ful reply. "Isn't it fun walking in the woods 
on snow-shoes? No, I haven't any idea but I 
am willing to follow my leader. ' ' 

"Are you going by compass, Cutler ?" called 
Cary, wondering over his sure guidance. 

"A kind of one," came the reply. "I forgot 
my real one, but I am using my watch as you 
always can, if you can see the sun. ' ' 

After a time, the way grew steep and then 
very steep indeed. Such violent exercise made 
them all hot and when they paused for breath, 
there was a general complaint about the coats 
that seemed too warm. The last stage was up 



1 86 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

a stony cliff, very difficult to manage, where they 
had to discard their snow-shoes and climb in 
moccasins. 

Cary had twice been on Thorn during the 
autumn, once with her father and once with a 
party led by Cutler, so she knew how beautiful 
and extended was the view, but she was quite 
unprepared for the same scene in winter, with 
ridge after ridge of snow-covered mountains, 
seeming much nearer than when green. The 
lakes, too, were ice-bound and the rivers had 
vanished in the white landscape. When they 
turned to the other side of the summit, Cutler 
gave a low whistle. 

"Here is Candace's snow/' he remarked, in- 
dicating a gray cloud floating upon them, ap- 
parently at the level of the mountain. Almost 
as he spoke, it caught them in a sudden silent 
whirl of flakes that instantly blotted out every- 
thing save their immediate surroundings. 

"Well, we must go down at once," he added. 
"We shall have our trail to follow so there will 
be no difficulty. ' 9 

"Probably it will pass in a moment,' ' said 
Janet. "It may be just one detached cloud. 
I've been up here in summer when we would 



OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 187 

get a cloud-like fog for a few minutes and then 
everything would be clear again. " 

1 'Come on," said Cutler quietly. " Let's get 
back to our side of the slope." 

Descending the steep, cone-shaped summit 
was even more difficult than climbing up, for the 
rocks were slippery and treacherous and hurry- 
ing was unsafe. Once at the bottom, there was 
a delay over putting on snow-shoes, while stead- 
ily the snow whirled in ever increasing volume, 
so thick and fast that they could see only a short 
distance. Curiously enough, with the snow 
came a kind of fog, caused perhaps by the fact 
that the temperature was only just below 
freezing. 

As soon as the girls were ready, Cutler 
started, retracing his steps, but so fast had the 
snow fallen that the tracks were already filling. 
After half an hour's progress he suddenly 
stopped. 

"Didn't we see some other tracks when we 
came up?" he asked. 

"Yes," Janet replied. "We twice crossed 
them. ' ' 

Cutler stood still, peering through the snow. 
To his keen eye it did not look as though the 



1 88 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

track they were now following was that of four 
people. Somewhere, he had picked up the 
wrong trail. 

" Eight about face," he commanded. " Let's 
go back where we are sure of our double track. ' ' 

Janet and Van turned without comment, but 
Cary was startled. * ' Don 't you know where we 
are ? ' ' she asked. 

" There isn't any reason to be frightened," 
Cutler answered after a pause. "We can't see 
the sun, so my watch isn't any use as a compass, 
but if we keep going down hill we shall get out 
of the woods in time, even if we don't come out 
where we went in. And it is so warm, Cary, 
that we shall be all right even if it takes some 
time. ' ' 

"Nothing can happen so long as there are 
four of us, ' ' added Janet comfortingly. 

Thus cheered, Cary began to look upon their 
adventure as safe, but as a matter of fact their 
very number was the cause of their undoing. 
So confused and hopelessly mixed did the trails 
presently become, that they had no idea which 
to follow or in what way to go. The one they 
were on seemed to have been made by a party 
but was surely leading them through woods un- 



OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 189 

familiar to all, though the fast-falling snow 
changed the look of everything. 

" Isn't it ridiculous that it should snow up 
here on Thorn V 9 said Janet cheerfully. "It 
often does even when the rest of the Ridge is 
clear. Very likely when we come out of the 
woods it will be into sunshine. Cary, you are 
getting tired ; don 't you want to rest ? ' ' 

Cary gladly stopped to lean against a sloping 
tree-trunk. Though she had quickly learned to 
walk on snow-shoes, still she was not as experi- 
enced as the others. Cutler paused with the 
rest, but Janet saw him glance at his watch. 

"Well," he said at length, "I think now the 
best thing to do, is to pay no attention to these 
old tracks. It was the extra ones that mixed 
me up in the beginning. I propose that we sim- 
ply go down hill and keep going down till we 
strike cleared land." 

"Most sensible thing you've thought of," 
commented Van flippantly. Janet also as- 
sented, and the four, with no further heed for 
the confused trails, followed Cutler, who, judg- 
ing by the slope of the ground, led the way 
through a storm that grew steadily thicker, 
though fortunately no colder. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THROUGH THE STORM 

Two hours later found the four still pressing 
on through woods that seemed endless. Cutler, 
silent as ever, led the way with his even Indian- 
like stride. More or less at one side of the girls, 
Van skirmished, gliding between the trees with- 
out sound. 

Janet and Cary struggled along, Janet speak- 
ing occasional encouraging words, accompanied 
by increasingly anxious glances at Cary's pale 
face, which had lost the glow engendered by ex- 
ercise and was becoming white. Cutler noticed 
this also, though he made no comment. To help 
any one walking on snow-shoes is not easy, for 
he could not get near enough Cary to take her 
arm, and she indignantly refused to hold the 
end of the proffered stick. 

In spite of his apparent calm, Cutler was 
troubled and worried, for according to all his 

calculations, they should long ago have come 

190 




TWO HOURS LATER FOUND THE FOUR STILL PRESSING ON THROUGH 
WOODS THAT SEEMED ENDLESS. — Page 190. 



THROUGH THE STORM 191 

out of the woods, presumably on the flank of 
Thorn below the Halliday clearing. The situa- 
tion was serious, for should darkness find them 
still on the mountain, they must stop and try to 
make camp, storm or no storm. They could 
count on less than an hour more of light. The 
only thing was to find a protected spot, collect 
fuel and try to erect some kind of shelter. Van 
would consider it merely a mild adventure and 
Janet Chapin was good sport. Cutler did not 
know Gary well enough to feel sure of her. She 
might play up, probably would, but he was not 
at all certain that she could stand much more 
physically, — she was looking pretty white 
around the gills. Cutler gradually slanted his 
course to bring him nearer Janet. 

" Guess we'd better stop when we get to a 
good place," he said in a low voice. "We'll 
slip into those evergreens right ahead and see 
what we can do for a fire and shelter. If we 
can find any sort of ledge to build our fire 
against we '11 be quite comfy. ' ' 

Janet gave him a startled glance. She was 
not afraid, for she lived an outdoor life and was 
a good woodsman herself, but a heavy storm 
was raging, they were lost on the Ridge, and had 



192 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

no food beyond a little sweet chocolate. Still, 
her common sense told her that it was worse 
than useless to keep on when they did not know 
their direction and when Cary was so tired. 
People at home would worry dreadfully, but 
they must not think of that, only do the best they 
could. 

1 ' All right, ' ' she replied briefly. 

Cary was now so weary that she could only 
just drag one heavy snow-shoe over the other, 
too tired to realize how precarious their situa- 
tion was. She made no comment when Cutler 
and Janet turned toward the thick growth of 
evergreen looming dimly ahead. Fortune fa- 
vored their choice, for almost at once they came 
on a rocky ledge, the base of which was so shel- 
tered from the whirling snow that it was free 
from drifts. With a fire against its face they 
would be well protected. 

Both Cutler and Janet wanted to give Cary 
a chance to rest, but knew that she must not 
stand still else she would take cold. 

" Just pick up what wood you can," directed 
Cutler, "and don't lose sight of this rock. 
We '11 have to be quick or it will be dark before 
we get our fire. ' ' 



THROUGH THE STORM 193 

Cary summoned all her courage and stumbled 
toward some branches sticking out through the 
snow. Presently Cutler came up with a big 
armful. 

"No lack of fuel/' he said cheerfully. "We 
are right on the edge of a slash where wood has 
been cut by the wholesale. There's enough 
round loose to warm the whole of Ridgefield." 

"Where is Van?" Janet asked anxiously as 
she helped pile the wood. 

"He is climbing round in the slash," replied 
Cutler, crumpling an old envelope. "Hold 
your skirts so as to shelter this, Janet." 

Janet did so, but before Cutler struck the 
match, a call came from Van, ringing clear 
through the storm. 

"What is that fool kid saying?" grumbled his 
older brother. 

Van thought his remarks of importance. 
Since no one would come to him, he finally re- 
turned to the ledge. 

"I know where we are," he announced. 

"Do you?" grunted Cutler. "So do I. 
We 're on the Ridge. ' ' 

"We are on the western slope of Cloud Moun- 
tain, not on Thorn at all," Van went on. "If 



194 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

you girls can climb across this slash, inside of 
five minutes I will take you to a place where 
there are at least twenty houses.' ' 

Janet stared openly. Cutler slowly straight- 
ened up from his position over the fire. 

" Cloud ?" he repeated. " You're crazy, 
Van. ' ' 

* ' I am not, ' ' retorted Van impishly. ' ' I know 
precisely where we are. I picked quarts and 
quarts of wild raspberries in this clearing last 



summer. ' ' 



Cutler suddenly left the ledge and went again 
into the darkening clearing. 

"I believe the kid is right," he announced la- 
conically on his return. "If he is, we really are 
very near the Cloud Mountain Camp. And we 
can probably get into one of the buildings." 

"It's worth trying," agreed Janet. "At the 
worst, we can come back here." 

All this was Greek to Cary, who could only ac- 
quiesce in the decision of the others. They left 
the ledge and the sheltering woods to plunge 
again into the open and the full fury of the 
storm. 

To cross the slash left by the wood-cutters 
was anything but easy, especially when ham- 



THROUGH THE STORM 195 

pered by snow-shoes. Cary stumbled and fell 
over a tree trunk, arose doggedly and staggered 
on. At the next obstacle she was suddenly 
picked up bodily and lifted over it. 

"I don't need any help/' gasped Janet, stuck 
on the top of a big stump. "I'll be off this in 
a minute. Just make it easy for Cary. ' ' 

Cary was past protest. She submitted with 
humiliation to being lifted over the worst ob- 
stacles and over a stone wall, which Van hailed 
with a whoop of triumph. Once over the wall 
they were again in woods, but among trees 
cleared of undergrowth, where there really 
seemed a path and where progress was simple 
and easy. Van skirmished ahead with the as- 
surance of one who knows his ground. Within 
the promised five minutes after crossing the 
slash, they suddenly came on a little square 
building at one side of the path. Twenty feet 
away stood another and beyond that a third. 

"Good boy, Van," exclaimed Cutler approv- 
ingly. "Keep on to the main camp." 

"What is it?" asked Cary in amazement, for 
at the right appeared two more little cabins, 
raised on supports on the sloping hillside. 

"It is a summer camp, run by a man in Cen- 



196 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

terdale," explained Janet. " These are the 
little cabins where people sleep. The central 
bungalow is not far on. ' ' 

Walking became easier, for wherever there 
was a little house a path led to it, and the main 
path was well defined. Very quickly a large 
dark mass loomed through the falling snow. 

6 l How are we to get in ? ' ' asked Cary, looking 
at the shuttered windows and the locked door 
Van shook vigorously. 

" We'll manage," said Cutler briefly. "Un- 
der the circumstances we are justified in break- 
ing in if necessary, but I know the ropes. I 
worked here a month last summer. ' ' 

Sliding down a slope to the basement of the 
building, he crawled under the high porch and 
presently the girls heard him call. They fol- 
lowed between a pile of empty boxes and a heap 
of snow-covered coal to the door he had forced 
open. 

Cary dropped on its step too exhausted to un- 
fasten her snow-shoes, too tired to protest when 
Van did it for her. 

"Come on," said Cutler, taking her arm. 
"There are stairs to climb. Bring some wood, 
Van." 



THROUGH THE STORM 197 

Cary stumbled up the narrow rough staircase, 
to emerge in a pitch-dark cold room, damp and 
clammy with the feeling of a shut-up place, long 
unwarmed and unused. Cutler struck a match, 
found the lamp he expected and lighted it. The 
girls looked about a large room, one that would 
be extremely pleasant in summer, for the shut- 
ters closed tight on three sides evidently opened 
to make the place but an enclosed bit of the sur- 
rounding forest. There was a hardwood floor 
for dancing, an immense fireplace, and at one 
side a pretty little stage offered opportunity for 
amateur theatricals. Some furniture was piled 
around the edges, but about the chimney was a 
clear space and the girls sank into rocking- 
chairs. Presently the boys returned with loads 
of fuel and in a very few minutes the weary 
young people were rejoicing in the light and 
heat of a splendid fire roaring on the disused 
hearth. 

"It was clever of you, Van, to recognize 
where we were," said Janet approvingly. 

"Oh, I fell around in that slash several times 
last summer," said Van. "But then there 's 
some class to me, anyway." 

"What I can't understand is how we have 



198 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

turned up on Cloud instead of going down 
Thorn,' ' mused Cutler. " After we left the top 
we must have turned completely around, gone 
north on the Kidge instead of south. I don't 
see how I could have been such an idiot. Well, 
there's one good thing, we know exactly where 
we are now, and it won 't be difficult to let other 
people know, too." 

"The telephone will be disconnected," said 
Van, "even if you can get into the office build- 
ing without smashing a window." 

"I shouldn't try it," replied Cutler. "Let's 
see if we can raise anything to eat." 

From chains in the ceiling hung several lan- 
terns, one of which contained considerable oil. 
Cutler lighted this and disappeared, closely 
shadowed by the hungry Van. 

"Cary, are you all right?" demanded Janet 
anxiously. She had removed her sodden moc- 
casins and thrown aside her snow-logged jacket, 
but Cary still sat huddled just as she came in, 
the water from her clothes dripping on the floor. 

"Oh, yes," she replied. "I only feel as 
though I never could move again. ' ' 

Janet finally induced her to remove her wet 
moccasins and extra socks. Presently the boys 



THROUGH THE STOEM 199 

returned with a tin of tomato soup and a large 
dish of crackers. 

" There's flour and such stuff,' ' Van reported, 
"but everything else needs cooking." 

No one was inclined to be fussy, and the hot 
soup, diluted with melted snow, tasted extremely 
good. 

"Who owns this camp?" asked Cary, quite 
revived by the peppery concoction. 

"A man named Bunce," replied Janet. "It 
is a nice place and ever so many city people 
come here in the summer. We really are on the 
other side of the Ridge, Cary, the Centerdale 
side, not ours. But Father knows Mr. Bunce 
and it is all right for us to come in and to use 
this soup. We can pay him afterwards." 

"Bunce is a good chap," assented Cutler. 

"This is a pleasant place for a girl to come 
as waitress," Janet went on. "Mr. and Mrs. 
Bunce like young people and have a son and 
daughter older than we are. Every summer 
they employ half a dozen girls and some boys. 
They don't have to work hard and have plenty 
of fun. Often they are college students who 
want to earn money during vacation. ' ' 

"I was here myself last August," said Cutler. 



200 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

' ' It's a first-class place to put in a little time 
and earn some cash.'' 

"How far are we from home?" asked Cary. 

"A good way," replied Cutler briefly. He 
was decidedly sore and mortified that his woods- 
manship had been so at fault. To his boyish 
pride it was a hard blow that he should have 
confused the trail, become turned around and 
so completely lose all sense of direction. 

"Can we get there in the morning?" per- 
sisted Cary. 

"Somehow," assented Cutler. 

"We aren't so very far from Centerdale," 
supplied Janet. "We can telephone from there 
and they will send for us. It is twelve miles or 
more by the road. Or perhaps we can find 
somebody to drive us over." 

"Our mothers will be so worried!" sighed 
Caiy. 

"Not for long," Cutler announced. "I'm 
going to the village to telephone. No, Janet, 
I think you girls had better stay here. It's two 
miles and a half in the face of the storm. Oh, 
yes, I know there is a road, but why not stay 
where you are comfortable? Nothing can hap- 
pen to you here and Van will keep the fire up." 



THROUGH THE STORM 201 

"Van is going, too,' ' announced that young 
gentleman. 

"Not much, sonny,' ' replied Cutler with one 
of his rare smiles. 

Van made no reply beyond twisting his face 
into fearful grimaces. 

"Cutler, you will go by the road, won't you?' 
Janet asked. "Don't try any short cuts." 

"I'll only cut through the pasture here," said 
Cutler. "It's safe to do that, for I've walked 
it forty times after dark. ' ' 

As he spoke, Cutler rose and started up the 
rough stairs leading from the living-room. 
Presently the girls heard him moving about 
overhead and soon a pile of blankets came fall- 
ing down the stairs. Rather unwillingly Van 
helped pull three couches before the fire and 
spread the blankets to warm. 

"I tell you I am going," he growled, but his 
older brother paid no attention to him. Janet 
went down-stairs to look from the basement 
door into the storm. 

"Cutler, I hate to have you go," she said 
as she returned. "The storm really is dread- 
ful." 

"I can't have Mother worry," said Cutler, 



202 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

who was lacing the shoes he had taken off to 
dry. "It isn't fair to any of our families not 
to let them know. I'll take the lantern, Janet. 
The Bunce house is the first one between here 
and the village. They'll take me in for the 
night and let me 'phone to Bidgefield. Then 
to-morrow morning I'll get up here somehow 
after the rest of you." 

"If the storm is over we can walk down," 
said Janet with spirit. "I suppose our people 
will all worry, but it is a question whether it is 
worse for them to be frightened or for you to 
risk going to the village. Look at that whirl 
of snow that just came down the chimney!" 

"I tell you I'm going," muttered Van. 

"Come out and help me bring more wood," 
said Cutler, pulling on his woolen cap. 

Neither girl knew just what magic Cutler 
exercised over his obstreperous young brother, 
but Van made no further refusal to stay with 
the girls. TTell provided with blankets and 
fuel, they watched Cutler's lantern for the 
briefest possible space of time before it van- 
ished into the snow. 

"I think it's dangerous for him to go in this 
storm," said Carv with a shiver. 



THROUGH THE STORM 203 

"Now lie down and let me tuck you in," said 
Janet soothingly. "We might just as well go 
to sleep and get rested. Nothing can disturb 
us here." 

"Not unless Old Jim gets on the rampage," 
said Van suddenly. "He does revert some- 
times." 

"Who is he?" asked Cary uneasily, 

"Oh, an Indian half-breed round these re- 
gions," Van went on. "Gets drunk occasion- 
ally, usually when there's a big storm. They 
say he wanders round the woods with a toma- 
hawk. One day last summer he tried to scalp a 
man in Centerdale. They sent him up for it, 
but he's loose again." 

"Van Richards, keep still," Janet com- 
manded. 

"Van, you're perfectly horrid," complained 
Cary. i ' I wish your father could hear you. ' ' 

"Father has heard me talk most of my life," 
went on the incorrigible Van. " I 'd just as soon 
discuss Old Jim with him. Once Jim took a 
gun — " 

"Van, please don't," begged Janet. "Cary 
isn't so used to you as I am." 

"Now I think of it, I believe Old Jim must 



204 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

have made those tracks up on Thorn, the ones 
that threw us off our trail. Granny Halliday 
sometimes feeds him." 

"Well, if he's on Thorn, he surely isn't on 
Cloud, too," snapped Cary, almost ready to cry 
between fatigue and nervousness. "I do think 
you ought to behave better considering that 
your father is a minister." 

Van chuckled and Janet laughed. She very 
well knew that Van's helpless parents regarded 
him much as the hen looked upon her duckling 
child. His silent older brother was the only 
individual who ever much influenced this clever, 
impish young person, and in what Cutler's 
power lay was unknown to any one else. 

"Do lie down and go to sleep, Van," she 
added. ' ' The fire will keep splendidly. ' ' 

"I want to make candy," announced Van. 
"There is molasses in a jug in the kitchen. 
Will you help me, Janet?" 

Janet shook her head. "I'm too tired, Van, 
and besides, we ought not to take the molasses. 
Things we need for food are different." 

"Bunce won't care," Van went on. "He's a 
real sport. And I '11 pay him for the molasses, 
Janet. I've some money." 



THROUGH THE STORM 205 

"Well-1," assented Janet slowly. "If you'll 
do that, Van — " 

Van hustled into the kitchen, brought back a 
jug of molasses so cold that it literally took ten 
minutes to pour out enough for the candy, pro- 
vided spoon and kettle. Cary, half -asleep and 
altogether disapproving, watched through low- 
ered lids while the two with infinite trouble 
hung the kettle on the crane. Of course it 
boiled over and messed the hearth ; of course it 
stuck to the pans and their hands, but it made 
Van happy. 

" Janet, it's ever so good of you to fuss so,'' 
Cary remarked when Van was returning the 
things to the kitchen. 

"Oh, well,'' said Janet, "a bey has to be 
amused, especially one like Van. It didn't hurt 
me any, but now it's nine o'clock and I am 
sleepy. Isn't this place pleasant?" 

In spite of snow and the rising wind, the big 
room was now comfortably warm, and leaping 
flames made curious lights and shadows in the 
raftered roof. There were plenty of blankets 
and the girls were cozy. 

"Now that I'm sure the people at home know 
and won't worry, this is rather fun," said Cary 



206 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

drowsily. "I hope Cutler didn't have a very 
hard time getting to Mr. Bunce's." 

Van came back, staggering under an immense 
log which he added to the fire. ' ' There !" he 
said, as he rolled himself in blankets and sub- 
sided on his cot. "We are all right now unless 
Old Jim spots our tracks and follows us over on 
Cloud. Old Jim is a sleuth at trailing." 



CHAPTER XV 

CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 

Judging from their regular breathing, Janet 
and Van soon slept, but Cary, who had dozed 
while the others were making candy, found her- 
self wakeful. While the camp was quite shel- 
tered by the rounded hill behind, still the wind 
was now sufficient to rattle the shutters and keep 
up a clamor, effectually preventing any nervous 
person from sleeping. Flakes of snow con- 
tinually dropped down the wide chimney, to 
hiss and sputter in the flames. 

Cary shifted her position and looked at Janet, 
who with a hand under one cheek was uncon- 
scious of her surroundings. In the fitful light 
of the fire her pretty profile was clear cut 
against the rough army blankets in which she 
was wrapped. Nothing was visible of Van save 
a shock of black hair. 

1 ' Janet is a real sport, ' ' thought Cary. ' ' She 
stood this much better than I have. Of course 

207 



208 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

it isn't all so strange to her, and she's known 
Cutler and Van all her life. It was good of her 
to help Van with that messy candy, when it 
made me cross just to have him want to do it. I 
suppose having a brother herself, she's more 
used to boys. What 's that ! ' ' 

Cary sat up, clutching her blankets about her. 
It sounded as though somebody was walking 
heavily along the wide porch of the camp. 

For a few seconds Cary sat in silence. There 
was no mistake. Some person was outside the 
building. 

1 i Oh, Janet, ' ' she whispered in fright, reach- 
ing for her friend with a trembling hand. 
' ' There is a man walking round the porch. Lis- 
ten!" 

Janet woke, sat up and listened, her face 
grave and concerned. 

"Do you think it can be that old Indian V 9 
asked Cary in the same anxious whisper. 

Janet did not reply. The sound of steps 
ceased, but after a moment was distinctly heard 
again, this time at the basement door by which 
they had entered. 

"Van, wake up!" said Janet, casting aside 
her blankets and shaking his recumbent form. 



CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 209 

"Lemme alone !" indignantly muttered Van. 

For answer Janet shook him harder and Van, 
startled into consciousness, also became aware 
that some one was undoubtedly entering the 
camp by the lower door. It startled him wide 
awake as well and into a sense of responsibility 
for the girls. 

" Janet, you and Cary sneak upstairs. Cut 
up there quick. There are plenty of blankets 
in one of the little rooms. If it is Indian Jim, 
lock yourselves in. ' ' 

Noiseless in their stocking-feet, the girls ran 
lightly up the rude staircase, but at its top 
Janet stopped. 

"I'm going to see who it is," she whispered. 
"If it's that old Indian, he's probably drunk 
and will just go to sleep before the fire." 

Van had withdrawn from the vicinity of the 
hearth and partly concealed himself behind 
some furniture where he could not easily be 
seen by whoever might enter. In breathless 
silence the three awaited the slow steps coming 
up from the basement. 

Though slow, they were perfectly steady and 
certain, and the newcomer carried a lantern, 
for its light preceded his approach. The next 



210 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

moment a man stepped into the room, so covered 
with plastered snow and so wrapped for pro- 
tection that his features were indistinguishable. 
He lifted the lantern, looked at the fire and 
about the apparently empty room, then put 
down the light to remove his cap and muffler. 

"Ah, Mr. Bunce!" exclaimed Van suddenly, 
and the speaker emerged from behind the big 
rocking-chair. At her side, Gary heard Janet's 
sigh of relief. 

"Well, sonny,' ' was the slow reply, "so it's 
you who's taken shelter here. Who is it, any- 
way ? ' ' 

"Evan Bichards," responded Van. "The 
girls went up-stairs when we heard steps. 
Thought it was Indian Jim." 

"Thought so myself," said Mr. Bunce, re- 
moving his snow-laden coat. "About eight 
o'clock somebody stopped at my house and said 
they'd seen a light on the camp grounds, so I 
came up along. Don't mind old Jim's crawling 
in from such a storm, but I was afraid he'd be 
drunk and burn the place up on me. What was 
it? Get caught on the mountain?" 

Van quickly explained. 

"I'm glad you came in," said Mr. Bunce 




The next moment a man stepped into the room. — Page 210. 



CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 211 

cordially. "Come down back to the fire, girls. 
This is Janet Chapin? Yes, I know your father 
well. He's done many a good turn for me and 
mine. Cary Dexter, is it? Used to see Charlie 
when he was a boy. Well, I hope you helped 
yourselves to something to eat and found all 
the blankets you need. Guess I'd better lug 
in some more wood before I take my boots off. 
As long as I'm here and all's well I won't peg 
back through the storm." 

"But, Mr. Bunce," said Janet, her face sud- 
denly anxious, "didn't you meet Cutler? He 
took a lantern and started for your house to 
telephone our people in Eidgefield where we 
were." 

Mr. Bunce looked at her gravely. "No, I 
haven't seen him. What time did he start?" 

"It must have been about seven," replied 
Janet, growing pale. 

"Seven," repeated Mr. Bunce reflectively. 
"It was his lantern then that Abner saw. That 
would make the time about right. Well, that 's 
odd." 

"Did you come by the road?" asked Van. 

"Yes. Did Cutler try a short cut?" 

"He said he was going through the pasture," 



212 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

said Janet, her anxiety showing in her voice. 

"Hm-m," observed Mr. Bunce thoughtfully, 
"that's probably how he missed me. Still, it 
couldn't have taken him long to get down to 
the road through the pasture. Cutler knows 
that path, but of course it is storming consider- 
able." 

Mr. Bunce did not say anything more. He 
looked at Van, and both rose; Van to pull on 
his moccasins, Mr. Bunce to put on coat and 
cap. 

1 l Guess Van and I '11 step down as far as the 
road, ' ' he remarked cheerfully. 

"Wouldn't I better come, too?" asked Janet. 

"Guess not," Mr. Bunce replied. "If you 
know how to build a fire in the kitchen range, 
Janet, you might tackle it. Won 't do any harm 
to have a little more heat and then there'll be 
something ready to cook breakfast by later on." 

"Will you come back here?" Cary asked anx- 
iously. 

"We'll come back," was the reassuring an- 
swer. "We'll speak, too, so you needn't feel 
afraid of it's being old Jim." 

The two went out into the snow, each with 
a lighted lantern. Cary and Janet put on their 



CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 213 

coats and moccasins and began to experiment 
with one of the two big stoves in the cold 
kitchen. Cary knew absolutely nothing about 
building a fire, but Janet went to work in a 
masterly manner that compelled admiration. 
Cary could only hand wood as needed, and hover 
about, watching her companion's expert move- 
ments. 

"Cary, you would never do for a Camp Fire 
Girl," said Janet at length. "I must teach you 
how to build a fire in the woods when you 
haven't even any matches. This is very easy. 
Don't you want to take that tin pail and bring 
in some snow? It might be just as well to have 
hot water. ' ' 

"Janet, do you think anything has happened 
to Cutler?" Cary asked tremulously. 

"I hope not," Janet answered, "but I can't 
help feeling anxious. It's possible that he 
didn't reach the road till after Mr. Bunce passed 
the pasture path, but that isn 't likely when Cut- 
ler left here at seven and Mr. Bunce didn't start 
from the village till after eight. Coming up 
to the camp is quite a climb, but going down 
ought not to take that long, even in a storm." 

Cary looked at her watch. "It's after ten," 



214 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

she remarked. "I wish we could do something 
to help." 

"Keeping the fires will help," said Janet. 
"If they go just to the road they ought to be 
back inside of an hour." 

With many anxious consultations of their 
watches, the girls tended the fires, but the dials 
showed eleven and after, and nothing happened. 

"Weren't you frightened when you heard 
those steps?" Cary asked in a pause when both 
stove and hearth had been freshly supplied and 
there was nothing to do but wait. 

"I didn't like it," acknowledged Janet. 
* ' Van is only a kid, though he is plucky. I was 
relieved to recognize Mr. Bunce." 

' ' Wasn 't he nice to us ? ' ' Cary agreed. " He 's 
a funny-looking man, but he was as kind as 
could be. Janet, don't you think the wind is 
dropping?" 

There seemed a lull just then and Janet rose 
to pace the room. "I wish these shutters were 
off so we could see the lights coming. But 
everything facing down the hill is closed tight. 
Isn't it odd how comfortable we are in here?" 

There came a noise at the basement door, fol- 
lowed by a shout from Van. Both girls flew to 



CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 215 

the head of the stairs to look down at Mr. Bunce, 
half-carrying, half-supporting, the limp figure 
of Cutler Richards. 

Neither Janet nor Cary was able afterwards 
to give a very clear account of that next half- 
hour. Cutler, chilled, though not quite helpless, 
with a cut on his forehead and a face disfigured 
by congealed blood, was wrapped in blankets 
on a cot drawn close to the cheerful kitchen 
range. Mr. Bunce, with an approving look at 
Janet's hot water, mixed a strong concoction 
of ginger and compelled the reluctant Cutler to 
swallow it. Van was rubbing his feet. 

Midnight passed before Cutler fully came out 
of the drowsy state in which he was brought in. 
Even then he was confused and unable to say 
just what had happened. It was probable that 
in climbing the stile from the pasture into the 
lane beyond, he had been tripped by his snow- 
shoes and in falling struck a rock and lain un- 
conscious until the others found him in the lee 
of the wall. That wall, reenforced as it was by 
high evergreens, protected him from the full 
force of the wind and snow, else his condition 
would have been worse. 

"Now you girls had better go in the other 



216 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

room and try to get some rest," directed Mr. 
Bunce. "There's nothing more we can do for 
Cutler and I shall bunk right here in the rocker 
where I can sleep with one eye on him. You 
others get back to your cots. I '11 likely come in 
now and then to keep up the fire, so don't be 
scared if you hear me walking round." 

Janet and Cary pulled their cots close to- 
gether and lay down with hands clasped under 
the blankets. 

"Do you think Cutler is badly hurt?" Cary 
whispered after a time. 

"I don't believe Mr. Bunce thinks so," Janet 
replied softly. "Wasn't it a mercy he came 
up here? If he hadn't we should never have 
known Cutler was out in the storm, and — " 

"No, don't," said Cary with a shudder. "I 
do like Cutler so much. ' ' 

"He's true blue," said Janet. "I'm sorry 
our people haven't known that we are safe but 
it can't be helped. We did all we could." 

"Van wanted to start out now and telephone, 
but Mr. Bunce would not let him." 

"No, it wasn't wise," said Janet. "Let's 
try to sleep, Cary, but first let's be thankful 
together that Cutler is all right. ' ' 



CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 217 

Both girls finally slept through sheer fatigue 
and a sense of safety springing from the pres- 
ence of Mr. Bunce. They did not know when 
the fire was replenished from time to time dur- 
ing the night, but finally woke to the reverbera- 
tion of a tin pan dropped on the kitchen floor. 
The storm was over, judging from the bright 
sunlight filtering through cracks in the shutters. 

In the kitchen, Mr. Bunce was capably ma- 
nipulating a smoking griddle and a bowl of bat- 
ter, while Van, his face showing marked ap- 
proval, placed plates, knives and forks upon 
the table. Cutler, his head bandaged, was look- 
ing pale, but quite himself. Thanks to the 
prompt first aid rendered, he had escaped frost- 
bite and only limped a little from the wrench 
given his ankle during the fall. 

"All the luxuries of home," chanted Van. 
"Hot water for a wash if you like." 

"Towels and a basin up-stairs in my 
daughter's room," added Mr. Bunce. "Per- 
haps you'll find a comb, too, though I can't be 



sure. ' ' 



Elizabeth's room provided not only a comb, 
but soap and a mirror, so that the girls came 
down to breakfast, much refreshed by the warm 



218 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

water and rearranged braids. Were it not for 
the anxiety they knew the home people must be 
experiencing, the novelty of this camp break- 
fast would have induced them to linger, and 
even as it was, the meal was a merry one. Janet 
insisted on relieving Mr. Bunce at the griddle 
and then Cary took her place, so that all had 
any number of cakes, served with delicious 
maple syrup and coffee. Then the girls pains- 
takingly washed the dishes and left everything 
in order. 

"Mr. Bunce, I think you ought to let us pay 
you for all this," said Janet, as she hung up the 
towels. 

"It's a pity," said Mr. Bunce dryly. "I 
reckon that I make enough out of this camp in 
the summer so that I can afford to entertain 
my neighbors in case of need during the winter. 
Why, I'd have given Indian Jim his board and 
lodging a night like last evening! I guess a 
few flapjacks and a little coffee and crackers 
won't break me, — no, nor the molasses either, 
Van. But now, if you are ready, we'll drop 
along down to the village. You won 't need your 
snow-shoes. ' ' 

He spoke in a mysterious fashion with a queer 



CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 219 

little smile, and the girls laughed as they looked 
at each other. The mystery was solved when 
they saw the two double-runners awaiting them 
outside the bungalow. 

"Oh, jolly, we're going to slide," said Van, 
prancing about them in delight. 

"Janet, did you ever see such a view?" 
shrieked Gary, her breath almost taken away. 

Mr. Bunce smiled. He was very proud of 
Cloud Mountain Camp. To Cary, who had 
come through the dark and the storm, the vision 
that lay before her seemed almost unreal. 
Below the bungalow the hill sloped for over a 
mile to the lake, and beyond the lake rose the 
mountains; hill, lake and summits alike white 
and pure under their heavy covering. The air 
was like a combination of wine and crystal. 
Under the snow the evergreens bent in graceful 
curves, every bough laden. 

The girls gazed and gazed and quiet Cutler 
also looked and saw more than they did. 

"I keep these sleds up at camp for the young 
folks when they like to slide,' ' explained Mr. 
Bunce. "My girl and boy come up sometimes 
for a night and bring along their friends. Cut- 
ler, you'd better let Van steer, for it won't do 



220 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

to give that ankle another wrench. You two 
take the sled with the snow-shoes strapped on it, 
and I'll go with the girls. Van, yon give me 
three minutes ' start and then follow as close as 
you can in my track. ' ' 

A slide over almost two miles of frozen crust ! 
This was new to Gary and long before the sled 
lost its momentum, she felt that she knew the 
joy of flying. Arthur's descriptions meant 
more to her, for surely this was the motion of 
a bird, the freedom of the wind. Under Mr. 
Bunce's skillful steering, the sled skimmed the 
snow like a living thing. They finally stopped, 
half-way up the last hill on the road to the 
village. 

4 * Only about ten minutes' walk to my house 
now," said their host as they rose with ex- 
clamations of delight. "I guess we'd better 
get Cutler to let us drag him. I don't want him 
to put any strain on that ankle. We'll tele- 
phone your folks and see whether it's best for 
you to get a man to drive you over from here, 
or whether they'll send for you. Koad's too 
clogged for an automobile ; you need something 
on runners.' ' 



CHAPTER XVI 

MORNING ON THORN 

Thorn shone just as beautiful as Cloud that 
morning under its fresh white garment, but Can- 
dace, who loved the mountain and who usually- 
looked to it with joy in its every mood, had not 
a thought for its wintry splendor. Granny 
was ill. 

Granny was very ill indeed. Candace knew 
that when she entered the tiny bedroom after re- 
ceiving no answer to her morning greeting. 
She had purposely omitted speaking until the 
fire snapped brightly and the kitchen was com- 
paratively warm. Granny felt the cold so much 
now that Candace always persuaded her to wait 
until she could have a comfortable place to 
dress. 

When Candace went in, Granny lay very 
quiet, well-covered and apparently at ease, 
but quite unconscious, and breathing only slowly 
and at long intervals. Candace felt an almost 

221 



222 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

imperceptible pulse. Granny neither saw her 
nor heard the despairing voice. 

Candace ran into the kitchen and looked down 
the unbroken snow of the road. Far below rose 
a lazy wreath of smoke from the Parks' chim- 
ney. Her nearest neighbors were a mile down 
the mountain and she did not dare leave Granny. 

Very quickly and efficiently, Candace filled 
their one hot-water bottle, put bricks in the 
oven to heat, and surrounded her grandmother 
with all the artificial warmth at hei command. 
Then she wrote a note to Mrs. Park, tied it to 
Shep's collar, gave him a little basket to carry 
so that he would understand he had an errand, 
and ordered him down the mountain road. 

Shep gambolled about as Candace accom- 
panied him a few yards, but stopped, whined 
and looked wistful when she paused with com- 
mands for him to keep on alone. 

"Shep, you must go, you must!" said poor 
Candace. "I can't leave Granny. Oh, Shep, 
don't you understand? Take it to Billy. Go 
on, good old doggie." 

Perhaps the desperation in the voice of his 
young mistress penetrated Shep 's already well- 
developed intelligence. He suddenly gave a 



MORNING ON THORN 223 

short muffled bark, as much as he could manage 
with the basket-handle in his mouth, and started 
at a steady trot down the road, picking his way 
among the drifts. Candace watched in relief. 
Once he stopped to look back, but she waved her 
hand and he kept on, to disappear around a 
curve. 

4 * Even if they telephone Dr. Chapin right 
away, it will be two hours .before he can get 
here," she sighed as she hurried back to her 
grandmother's room. "Perhaps Mrs. Park 
will come up. No, I won't expect any one be- 
fore nine at the earliest. Granny, darling, 
don't you hear me!" 

Only once that next half-hour did Candace 
look down the road and then it was to wonder 
why Shep was not back. She could hardly be- 
lieve her ears when long before eight the jingle 
of bells reached her. Running to the kitchen 
window, she saw a sleigh turn into the yard 
and a man get out very hastily. 

Candace opened the door with an exclamation 
that died on her lips. She did not face the 
hoped-for doctor, but the principal of the High 
School, looking both tired and pale. 

"Candace !" he began, "are the — " 



224 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

The sentence stopped unfinished before the 
girl 's frightened face. ' ' What is it, Candace ? ' ' 
he added. "Better tell me at once." 

"Oh, come in, Mr. Dexter. I'm so thankful 
to see you," gasped Candace, utterly unaware 
that they were talking at cross-purposes. "I 
don't know what to do." 

"When did they go up the mountain?" asked 
Mr. Dexter quickly. Only too plain that the 
missing young people were not at the cottage 
and had not been. Mr. Richards was right. 
If they had found refuge there from the storm, 
the boys would at least have gone down as far 
as the Park house to telephone. "What time 
did you see them last?" he added. 

Candace put her hand to her throat. "The 
girls?" she said in a queer choked voice. 
"Haven't they come home? Oh, Mr. Dexter! 
And Granny!" 

6 1 Candace, sit down, ' ' said Mr. Dexter, catch- 
ing her before she actually fell. "Here, drink 
some water. No, we haven't seen or heard any- 
thing from all four. What about Granny?" 

"She doesn't speak or know me," Candace 
replied, waving her hand toward the open bed- 
room door. 



MORNING ON THORN 225 

Mr. Dexter crossed the kitchen and entered 
Granny's room. Candace, dragging herself 
from her chair, saw him standing by Mrs. Halli- 
day. He touched her hands and forehead, felt 
her pulse, laid a finger on her heart. 

' ' How long has she been like this, Candace ? ' ' 
he asked very gently. 

Candace told her story and how she had sent 
Shep for help. 

"Here's Shep now," she exclaimed as a 
familiar bark and whine came at the outer door. 
Shep bounced in, covered with snow which he 
proceeded to shake off all over the kitchen, and 
wagging his tail violently as he presented Can- 
dace with the basket, into which was securely 
fastened another note. 

"Mrs. Park says she will be right up," she 
read in joyful relief. "They couldn't get Dr. 
Chapin, but Dr. Greene will come as soon as 
possible." 

Mr. Dexter looked again at Granny's peace- 
ful, quiet face, then turned to Candace, so sure 
of the doctor's power to save. 

"Isn't she just sleeping hard?" Candace 
begged hopefully. 

Mr. Dexter could not speak. How could he 



226 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

tell poor Candace he was certain Granny would 
never speak to her again? Where were Cary 
and Janet and the boys? And there towered 
Thorn, looking as brilliant and as hard-hearted 
as a diamond. 

' ' Have you any stimulant in the house ?" he 
asked, throwing aside his fur coat. 

"There's the stuff Dr. Chapin gave Granny 
for her heart," said Candace quickly. 

Mr. Dexter looked at the bottle. Carefully 
measuring the prescribed dose, he gently lifted 
Granny's head and tried to get her to swallow 
the medicine, but in vain. He expected noth- 
ing else; he was only trying to give Candace 
the comfort of action. 

"All we can do until the doctor comes, is to 
be sure she is warm," he said sympathetically. 
"Better bring a quilt from your bed, Candace. 
Now tell me just when you saw the children yes- 
terday. ' ' 

"They went past about one," said Candace, 
tucking another cover carefully around her 
grandmother. "Janet and Cutler stopped to 
speak to me. The others were ahead. I 
watched them climb the hill behind the house, 
for they went up the sheep path. Cary was 



MORNING ON THORN 227 

having some difficulty with her snow-shoes and 
they didn't go very fast." 

"Did they say how long they meant to stay!" 

"No. It wasn't storming then, only a little 
cloudy in the west. Somehow I thought they 
probably came out on the trail to Lily Lake, and 
that was why I didn't see them come back. If 
they went that way, they would have passed the 
front of the cottage and we wouldn't have no- 
ticed. " 

Mr. Dexter scarcely heard Candace's words. 
His eyes still on Granny's tranquil old face, he 
was thinking intently. Folly to go up Thorn 
alone since he had no idea which way the chil- 
dren had wandered. There would be no track 
to guide him ; the storm and wind had removed 
all chance of that. Back in the village were 
other anxious parents, and here was poor help- 
less Candace. He would trust Dr. Chapin 
and Mr. Richards to take thought for his 
daughter, for very plainly his next duty was to 
Candace, to remain until Mrs. Park should 
come. 

Fortunately Mrs. Park soon appeared. She 
commanded Billy to hustle and Billy did. 
Leaving her dishes unwashed and her children 



228 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

to their own sweet will, she climbed into the 
old milk-pung and step by step the horse flound- 
ered up the mountain road. Fat, shapeless, and 
toothless as she was, she came as a ministering 
angel to Candace, and one of deliverance to Mr. 
Dexter, for her first words were of a telephone 
message. 

i * Your girl's turned up," she announced as 
she descended from the sleigh. "They are all 
four safe over in Centerdale. Mr. Richards 
'phoned me and wanted Billy to head you off 
from climbing Thorn. Seems they missed their 
way and spent the night in the Cloud Mountain 
Camp. ' ' 

Mr. Dexter waited then, waited until Dr. 
Greene came, waited till Granny woke, but woke 
in another world. Then, overcoming poor Can- 
dace's protests, he very gently insisted that she 
should come home with him. Mrs. Park packed 
a bag and Candace, dazed and numb with her 
sudden bereavement, submitted to be wrapped 
warmly and placed in the sleigh. Perhaps no 
other person could have had so much influence 
with her just then. Through all her aching 
pain, she knew that he was her father's friend, 
her teacher, and that it was right he should di- 



MORNING ON THORN 229 

rect matters. And for a little her pride slum- 
bered. 

That telephone message from Centerdale 
brought keen relief to three troubled homes. 
To be sure, all the parents concerned had such 
confidence in Cutler that their anxiety was less 
than had the others been alone. All were cer- 
tain that he would manage wisely somehow, 
would do so, were they compelled to remain 
in the woods for the night. 

It was after noon before the sleigh from Cen- 
terdale broke through the drifts, and by that 
time, Eidgefield knew that Granny Halliday 
had died that morning. Cary, coming home, 
with the exciting hours behind her, heard the 
news and found Lizzie preparing the little west 
room adjoining her own. She paused in her 
tale of adventure to inquire what guest was 
expected. 

"I feel sure your father will bring Candace 
back with him, ' ' explained Mrs. Dexter. ' l Poor 
girl, I only hope she will let us take care of her 
for a little." 

"Oh, Mammy, I'm so tired,' ' said Cary sud- 
denly. "I didn't know it till just now." 

"Of course you are tired after such a night," 



230 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

said her mother sympathetically. " Don't you 
want to go to bed, dear, and really rest?" 

Cary indignantly refused. ' i No indeed, ' ' she 
said. ' ' Mammy, I do think both Janet and Cut- 
ler are such bricks. Cutler felt dreadfully be- 
cause he couldn't get word to Ridgefield." 

"That is just like him," agreed her mother. 
"Cary, you look pale. Better lie down for a 
little." 

To this Cary finally consented. After all, it 
was rather pleasant to spend the rest of this 
unusual Sunday tucked on the living-room couch 
and eat her dinner from a tray. She could not 
keep her thoughts from Candace nor decide just 
how she felt about her, though she honestly 
tried to stifle a wish that Candace would not 
come. She listened intently when the telephone 
presently rang. 

"Yes," she heard her mother say. "Yes, in- 
deed, Charles, I knew you would wish to bring 
her. Her room is all ready. Give her my love. 
Yes, Cary is all right, just tired, as is only na- 
tural. No, the others are none the worse, un- 
less Cutler develops a cold. Oh, he was out in 
more of the storm, — I'll tell you later. Make 



MORNING ON THORN 231 

Candace understand that I want her, that we all 
want her. Yes. Good-by." 

Cary turned her face to the pillow. Candace 
was coming. Well, perhaps it would not be for 
long, and of course it was a pity about Granny's 
death. Candace probably loved her. But it 
did seem as though somebody else might have 
taken her in. There were neighbors who had 
always known her, while the Dexters had come 
to the Butterfly House only last September. It 
was unfortunate that Daddy chanced to be there 
and so became involved. If he hadn't, prob- 
ably there would have been no question of Can- 
dace 's coming. It was just like Daddy, he was 
so soft-hearted and always doing things on im- 
pulse, like a boy. Well, she would be kind and 
nice to Candace, but no real intimacy need be 
expected. 



CHAPTER XVn 

CANDACE PLANS 

"What has become of Shep?" Candace asked 
suddenly. 

Mrs. Dexter fairly jumped. She was alone 
with Candace in the cozy library and supposed 
that the girl, lying on the broad couch be- 
fore the fire, was asleep. A week had passed 
since that eventful trip up Thorn and a second 
Sunday was drawing to a close. 

Candace had been absolutely passive through 
the days. She assented to all arrangements 
proposed to her, submitted to be cared for and 
petted as never before in her independent life, 
permitted others to think and plan for her. 
Through all, she seemed dazed and silent, even 
during the service in the church, for Granny's 
many friends could not climb the steep moun- 
tain road through the drifted snow. This ques- 
tion was the first indication that her numbed 
faculties were beginning to wake. 

"Shep is at the Parks y Mrs. Dexter replied. 

232 



CANDACE PLANS 233 

11 Billy loves him and says he seems contented. 
The cow and hens are there, too, Candace. 
They are being well looked ont for. ' ' 

"I ought to have thought of them before," 
said Candace after a pause. "I suppose I can't 
take care of them now." 

Mrs. Dexter dropped the magazine she was 
reading and gazed into the iire. Sooner or 
later it would be necessary to have a plain talk 
with Candace and the girl seemed giving her an 
opening. Yet she was not certain that Candace 
was sufficiently recovered from the shock of the 
past week to be able to endure it. Moreover, 
she very much wished her husband to be pres- 
ent during that conversation. Candace, with 
her unlimited pride and fiery independence, 
about which there was something not wholly 
commendable, would be more easily managed by 
Mr. Dexter. While she hesitated, fearful lest 
she say the wrong thing, Candace went on. 

" You've been so heavenly kind to me, Mrs. 
Dexter," she said. "I have appreciated it. 
And I just loved one thing you did for me." 

"What was that?" asked Mrs. Dexter, com- 
ing to sit beside her young guest on the couch 
and possessing herself of one of Candace 's 



234 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

hands. They were strong, beautiful hands 
though somewhat worn with hard work. 

"Something very silly," admitted Candace 
with the ghost of a laugh. "You'll think so 
when you hear it. A long time ago, I read a 
story about a girl who went to visit in a lovely 
home, and the first morning they sent her break- 
fast up to her in bed. When you came in that 
morning with that dainty tray and had me eat 
propped on pillows, — why, I felt as though I 
were a truly princess in a fairy-tale ! It was the 
loveliest thing that ever happened to me in all 
my life. And I've let you do it the whole week 
just because I adored it so, when I knew all the 
time that I ought to get up and dress and not 
let myself be waited on. I do thank you more 
than I can tell, and I shall always remember 
just how the tray and the dishes and the cun- 
ning cream-pitcher looked." 

Mrs. Dexter could not trust herself to look 
at Candace. She was inexplicably touched. 
Breakfast in bed was a common incident to her 
or to Cary whenever indisposed, yet it seemed 
such a wonderful attention to Candace. But 
the way she spoke, her use of tenses, indicated 
more to follow. 



CANDACE PLANS 235 

"It has been like a dream," Candace went on, 
"and one that I shall think of so often. Dear 
Mrs. Dexter, I do thank you for everything 
you've done for me, but I can't let you do any 
more." 

"What have you planned, Candace V 9 asked 
Mrs. Dexter, listening eagerly to steps on the 
porch. How she hoped they were her hus- 
band 's ! 

"There are two things I might do," Candace 
replied. "Perhaps Mrs. Baker will let me keep 
on helping her, though I more than suspect she 
doesn't really need me. And I think if Mrs. 
Park has the cow and the hens, she will let me 
live there for what help I can be with the chil- 
dren nights and mornings. For I must manage 
to go to school." 

To the immense relief of his wife, Mr. Dexter 
came into the library, bringing a breath of fresh 
outside air and looking cold and ready to settle 
down. He smiled at them both. 

"Charles, come and talk with us," said Mrs. 
Dexter. "Candace and I were just discussing 
some plans she has made and it will be helpful 
to have your opinion. ' ' 

Mr. Dexter gave his wife a glance, under- 



236 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

standing perfectly from her quiet tone, that the 
critical moment they awaited and had prepared 
for, was at hand. He replenished the fire and 
sat down in a big leather-covered chair at a right 
angle to the couch. 

4 * Where is Cary?" he asked. 

i ' She has taken Chrissy out on her sled, ' ' re- 
plied Mrs. Dexter. ' ' Tell him about your plans, 
Candace. ' ' 

Candace did so, though fearful that he would 
interrupt or oppose, but he only listened quietly 
to her nervous explanation of the need she felt 
for being independent. 

"Of course you must keep on going to 
school,' ' he agreed when she had finished and 
sat uneasily twisting her fingers in and out of 
Mrs. Dexter 's. "But, Candace, there is some 
business that must be considered. You are fif- 
teen, are you not?" 

"Sixteen next June," said Candace, wonder- 
ing what this had to do with the matter. 

"At any rate a minor," observed Mr. Dex- 
ter. "The house and land on Thorn belonged 
to your grandmother, didn't they?" 

"Yes, I believe so," Candace answered. "I 
haven't thought of it for a long time, but I re- 



CANDACE PLANS 237 

member hearing when Father died that the place 
was Granny's." 

"It is therefore your own property now," 
said Mr. Dexter, "for there are no other heirs 
and everything will come to you whether Granny 
left a will or not. Now, Candace, the law re- 
quires that an administrator be appointed for 
your grandmother's estate and a guardian ap- 
pointed for your person. It isn't as formidable 
as it sounds," he added. "And a minor over 
the age of fourteen may at discretion choose her 
guardian." 

Candace looked puzzled. "I don't under- 
stand," she said. 

"A guardian is necessary for a minor child," 
explained Mr. Dexter, "some person who agrees 
to be responsible for looking after the child and 
her property. In return, the minor is expected 
to look upon this guardian as the person to 
whom she is responsible, and to whose judg- 
ment," Mr. Dexter went on, choosing his words 
with care, "she is expected to defer in all mat- 
ters where the opinion of an older person is sup- 
posed to carry weight, — in other words, to take 
the place of a parent until his ward is twenty- 
one. A really good guardian," observed Mr. 



238 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Dexter in the most casual manner, "becomes 
personally interested in his charge and expects 
to be treated as a relative. The law requires 
you to choose a guardian, Candace, some per- 
son, of course, who is interested in you and is 
willing to act in that capacity. Do you know, 
I'd feel decidedly pleased if Andrew Halliday's 
daughter chose to trust me as her guardian." 

Mr. Dexter ended with the charming smile 
that had made the boy Charles so liked in Ridge- 
field. Canclace stared at him with eyes wide- 
open. Mrs. Dexter smiled back at her husband. 
Charles was doing very well, if the child wasn't 
too much overcome to take it in. She slipped 
an arm around Candace. 

"Now, there's Thorn," Mr. Dexter went on, 
before Candace could do more than gasp. " I 've 
wandered over much of Europe, and climbed 
many mountains that would consider Thorn only 
a hummock of dirt, but I have a feeling for that 
mountain that no other ever gave me. Andrew 
felt just as I do, and I know you love it, Can- 
dace, for I have seen it in your face. Somehow, 
I think Andrew would like me to be your guar- 
dian, and Thorn would too," he ended whim- 
sically. 



CANDACE PLANS 239 

Candace burst into tears, tears of warm feel- 
ing that loosened the icy barriers shutting down 
around her heart, melted the stern pride with 
which she had determined to take up her in- 
dependence and face the world alone. It was 
not in her nature, craving affection as she did, 
to resist that plea. 

"Now let us return once more to business,' ' 
said her kind friend,, some moments later, when 
Candace was calmer, cuddled still within Anne 
Dexter 's embrace, but much less stiff and un- 
yielding. "I don't know exactly the value of 
the land on the mountain. Probably it is not 
taxed for more than two thousand, but you have 
at least that much behind you, Candace. And 
the farm has an intangible value that can't be 
estimated, for it has a wonderful view and good 
water, so that some day some rich man may 
want it for a summer home. That location is 
worth a good deal to a person who takes a fancy 
to it and can pay for his liking. It will be best 
to hold it for a time. Then the wood is valu- 
able. When I went through the beech grove 
this last autumn, I saw that it was ready for 
cutting, and that will bring in considerable. 
There isn't any need just yet for our ward to 



240 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

wash dishes for the stout but estimable Mrs. 
Park." 

Candace smothered an hysterical laugh. She 
enjoyed so much Mr. Dexter 's way of stating 
things. 

"I promise you, Candace," he said to a more 
serious objection, "that I will keep an account 
of every penny we spend for you, and balance it 
against the property you own. You have ac- 
cepted me as your guardian, so the first thing is 
to let me decide what is best for you to do. For 
the present, both Anne and I think you should 
remain under our roof." 

To Candace, used to counting every cent, the 
two thousand dollars so lightly mentioned 
seemed an immense sum. To know herself pos- 
sessed of property to that amount at once re- 
moved her from dependence on kindness. And 
it was bliss to have this decided for her. 

"If you think I ought, — " she began, with a 
little choke in her throat. "But it would be so 
lovely that I don't dare feel it is right." 

"It is," said Mrs. Dexter, speaking for the 
first time. "We want you, Candace, and this is 
a matter that older people should decide for 
you. Next June, we will discuss the question 



CANDACE PLANS 241 

again, but for the next six months, this is your 
home and you are one of our daughters. I shall 
treat you just like Cary, — scold you if neces- 
sary, and plan for you and tell you what to 
wear and say you mustn't go skating until your 
studying is done. Yes, and you must always 
get up to breakfast unless you really don't feel 
well enough to come down ! ' ' 

That was the last straw. With rather tear- 
ful laughter, Candace concluded her bargain. 
They both kissed her, and Mrs. Dexter, with 
mock severity, ordered her to go up and make 
herself tidy for the chafing-dish supper always 
served in the library on Sunday night. 

After reaching her room, — that pretty west 
room, — Candace stopped to cry a little. She no 
longer felt lonely and left out in the world. 
How dear these people were to her! Did 
friendship always mean so much ? Just because 
Mr. Dexter had known and cared for Andrew 
Halliday, they were being so heavenly kind to 
his daughter. She hoped both Father and 
Granny knew all about it. And did Thorn 
really care what happened to her? 

Candace stopped brushing her hair and looked 
up to the mountain, dark against the sunset sky. 



242 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

She half suspected that he was rejoicing too; 
he looked so friendly to-night like a great guar- 
dian angel smiling down at her window. 
Another thought struck her suddenly. Uncle 
Charles and Aunt Anne, as she was to call 
them, had welcomed her very affectionately, but 
there was Gary! 

Candace paused, brush in hand. Cary had 
been nice to her all that past week, in a strictly 
aloof, impersonal fashion, not once coming into 
Candace 's room except with her mother. Now 
Candace thought of it, she had not been one 
minute alone with Cary. Janet and Amy both 
ran in to kiss her and say some loving words, 
but Cary, in the same house, was only quiet and 
perfectly pleasant, neither truly sympathetic 
nor affectionate. 

For a moment Candace stood looking at 
Thorn. Then, because she had faced difficulties 
all her life, she faced this one. 

"It doesn't matter whether Cary likes me or 
not," she thought. "I like her. I'll love her, 
and love her so hard that she can't help loving 
back just a little." 



CHAPTEE XVni 

AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 

Charles and Anne Dexter did not take so 
important a step as inviting Candace to share 
their home without due consideration of Cary. 
Theoretically, it would be good for Cary to have 
a companion of her own age, and while Mrs. 
Dexter knew the slight feeling of jealousy oc- 
casionally noticeable in her daughter, Cary's 
cordial and sincere congratulations to Candace 
on the night of the Hatch prize speaking, led her 
mother to believe this spark of antagonism ex- 
tinguished. So quick a mind and such marked 
intellectual ability as Candace 's would have won 
Mr. Dexter 's interest in any case, but when oc- 
curring in a student with the further claim of old 
family friendship, he was doubly anxious to 
help. To his wife, Candace's extraordinary 
beauty and promise of latent personal charm 
made a strong appeal, but neither would decide 
so important a question without their daugh- 
ter's spoken approval. 

243 



244 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Cary, really sorry for Candace and touched 
by her evident suffering during that hard week, 
agreed very quietly and apparently with will- 
ingness when consulted about a six-months' 
visit. Her assent was perfectly sincere and 
she meant to live up to it. Were it ever granted 
on good intentions alone, both she and Candace 
already merited angels' plumage. 

Cary's imagination, however, did not com- 
pass the extent of Candace 's devotion to her 
parents, especially the mother whom Cary her- 
self adored, nor did it occur to Anne Dexter 
that Cary could possibly question the quality of 
her love. 

Once a member of the family at the Butterfly 
House, Candace immediately tried to take upon 
herself some household duties, but Lizzie 
promptly ordered her out of the kitchen, an- 
nouncing that she could cook her own meals 
and clear away her own dishes. 

"You can take care of your room and help 
Miss Anne any way she'll let you, but I won't 
have either you or Cary bothering me," was 
Lizzie's ultimatum. 

Seeing that the girl really missed the house- 
hold burdens she had carried all her life, Mrs. 



AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 245 

Dexter assigned to Candace the daily care of 
library and study, duties she herself usually at- 
tended to; Cary's share being living-room and 
dining-room. 

Candace was naturally orderly and a born 
housekeeper, qualities possessed by neither 
Cary nor her mother. She exercised the art of 
dusting without disarranging and always knew 
where things were. Never had the southwest 
rooms in the Butterfly House been so spotlessly 
neat since the days of old Nancy Dexter, and 
in that time they lacked the pleasant charm and 
lived-in look imparted by their present occu- 
pants. 

Cary hated housework of any description and 
made no objection one morning when Candace 
ventured to water the plants in all the rooms, 
not merely those under her own charge. En- 
couraged by this success, Candace openly of- 
fered the next Saturday to dust the dining- 
room. 

"I'd just as soon," she said hesitatingly. 
* ' I know you want to get through studying and 
skate.' ' 

"Oh, I ought to do it myself!" sighed Cary. 
"Why don't you come skating, too?" 



246 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"I don't know how," Candace admitted. 
"I've always lived up the mountain away from 
the lake. Please let me do this room." 

Cary's unresisting hand gave up the duster. 
On the following morning, long before time for 
breakfast, the dining-room shone with the ef- 
forts of Candace 's skilled fingers and Cary's 
control of it was gone. She accepted this in no 
spirit of gratitude, because if Candace liked 
dusting, it was no hardship to care for an ad- 
ditional room. 

" Candace," said Mrs. Dexter the Saturday 
before school reopened, " would you like to 
know what became of that sketch I made of you 
in the big chair? I sent it to a New York pub- 
lisher who wanted a design for a magazine 
cover. He was much pleased with it, but I feel 
that a part of its success is due to my model. 
Now, you know, Candace, that it is customary 
to pay a model for posing, and I want to settle 
my just debts. I have chosen to do it by means 
of that box the expressman just delivered." 

Candace gave a startled look at the large 
package Cary placed on the table, bearing the 
name of a well-known Boston firm. 

"Oh, but I wanted to pose for you, Aunt 



AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 247 

Anne," she protested. " I was glad to do it. I 
couldn't bear to have you pay me." 

"The check that came was so generous that 
the Eed Cross received a share as well," said 
Mrs. Dexter gayly. "Open the box, Candace. 
Cary and I had great fun over that order and 
we hope you will like it." 

"Do hurry, Candace," added Cary, whom her 
mother had wisely consulted in the matter. 
"I'll cut the string and take off the paper but 
you must lift the lid. ' ' 

Candace knelt before the big box transferred 
by Cary to the rug, lifted the lid and a layer of 
white paper. She did not speak nor move, only 
knelt in silence, her face growing pale. 

"Take it out," directed Cary, suiting the ac- 
tion to the word, and holding up a pretty one- 
piece dress of soft brown material, exactly 
harmonizing with Candace 's hair and eyes. 
"Do you like it?" 

"Like it!" gasped Candace. 

"I was right, wasn't I, dear, in thinking 
Granny did not wish you to wear black ? ' ' asked 
Mrs. Dexter a little anxiously. 

"Yes, Aunt Anne," said Candace rather 
brokenly. "I never owned anything so lovely. 



248 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

I wish Granny might see it. Is it right for me 
to accept it?" she asked as simply as a little 
child. 

"Perfectly right," Mrs. Dexter assured her 
promptly, greatly relieved at Candace 's dis- 
position to appeal to her opinion. "Try it 



on." 



"It fits to perfection," Cary announced after 
an anxious two minutes. "Candace, you are 
simply stunning ! Isn 't that white collar sweet, 
Mammy? It's a shade too long but it isn't 
hemmed, so that can be fixed in a jiffy. Isn't 
it becoming?" 

"Yes," agreed her mother, "it couldn't be 
better and I like its absolute simplicity. That 
will do very well for school. ' ' 

"School!" exclaimed the petrified Candace. 

"Yes," Mrs. Dexter replied calmly. "You 
need another dress for the severe weather and 
if you lay aside your green one now, it will 
come in nicely for spring. Yes, Cary," to her 
daughter, hovering impatiently about the box. 

Candace 's amazement was complete when a 
warm woolly brown sport-coat with cap and 
gloves to match was placed upon her unresist- 
ing person. 



AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 249 

" Mammy, she really must have brown shoes/ ' 
announced Cary. 

"Yes, but I didn't dare order them," said 
Mrs. Dexter. "Here are the proper stockings 
and we will get the shoes nearer home. You 
look extremely ladylike and nice, Candace, and 
the things are both becoming and appropriate. 
Now, while we were planning about clothes, I 
also ordered a simple dress for Sundays and 
times when Cary wears her blue silk. I hope 
this will be as satisfactory." 

Candace stood dumb before the pretty gray- 
green gown of soft crepe, appearing from that 
magic box, a little gown, simplicity itself, but 
exactly suiting her complexion and coloring. 

"She must have slippers as well as boots," 
Mrs. Dexter thought to herself. "I only hope 
this mood of meekness will last." 

To her relief, Candace repeated her appeal. 
"Is it right for me to let you give me these 
beautiful things, Aunt Anne?" 

"Perfectly right, Candace. You helped me 
by posing, and aside from that, it gives me 
pleasure to see you so prettily and becomingly 
dressed." 

"I know my clothes are too shabby for the 



250 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Butterfly House, " said Candace bravely, "and 
it is lovely of you to care how I look, Aunt Anne. 
Since you say it is right for me to have them, 
I'll enjoy them, oh — I love them! But I can 
never thank you properly. " 

With her last words, she knelt beside Mrs. 
Dexter, holding her in a tight embrace. "I 
wish I could do something for you in return," 
she whispered. 

"Why, you will, never fear," said Mrs. Dex- 
ter, patting the bowed head. "Now, Cary, will 
you take Chrissy out while I pin the hem of the 
brown dress? I'm not much of a seamstress, 
Candace, but I know when a thing looks right, 
if you will take the necessary stitches." 

Cary and Christine went out, and Mrs. Dex- 
ter, arranging the skirt at a becoming length, 
made several gentle suggestions to Candace 
about the proper care of nails and hair, sug- 
gestions received humbly and in good part, 
though Candace in truth could scarcely be criti- 
cized for neglecting such details under circum- 
stances where she was literally too rushed to 
think of herself. To take thought about one's 
appearance beyond the point of neatness, 
Granny considered vanity, and Candace learned 



AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 251 

with genuine surprise that to look one 's best was 
a duty owed both to one's own self-respect and 
to others. Acting on this theory, Candace will- 
ingly permitted her glorious crown of hair to 
be softly puffed about her face, instead of 
brushed mercilessly back, even admitted the ef- 
fect to be better. 

Mrs. Dexter 's thoughtful tact provided that 
Candace, wearing the pretty brown dress, 
should casually meet several people who 
dropped in for Sunday-night tea the following 
day ; it even directed Gary, on Monday morning, 
to put on a frock that had not hitherto graced 
the Ridgefield High School, so that the admir- 
ing exclamations of their schoolmates included 
both girls. 

One unforeseen and amusing result of that 
brown outfit was that the boys discovered Can- 
dace. They had always thought her pretty, but 
now they voted her a " peach' ' and offered shy 
attentions, which by turns embarrassed or an- 
noyed her. Her attitude in the matter an- 
noyed Cary, who enjoyed the boys, found them 
good fun, and couldn't understand why Can- 
dace scorned the whole masculine High School, 
even Cutler Richards, whom everybody liked. 



252 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

■ ' Candace, why don 't you learn to skate and 
learn to dance ? ' ' she demanded impatiently one 
afternoon. "We'll teach you, any of us. I'll 
teach you to dance myself, and the next time a 
boy asks you to skate, go with him. He can 
take his fun out in holding you up. Better yet, 
you shall come out on the pond in the Chapins , 
backyard where May skates, and take a kitchen 
chair and wobble around all you like until you 
get the stroke. It's part of your education to 
know how to do things like that, and if you live 
with me, you'll have to learn something frivol- 
ous ! I can't stand it if you don't know how to 
do anything but read. That's all you do when 
you aren't studying. Even Chrissy can play 
Chopsticks on the piano, but I don 't believe you 
can wiggle your fingers through that! Now, 
listen, you must learn to frivol and, yes, — to 
talk!" 

"I can do something besides read," flashed 
Candace. "Cook, if I have the chance, and 



sew." 



" Yes," admitted Cary, screwing her face into 
an expression of tried endurance, "but all that 
is useful, and you ought to be enjoyable too. 
Now you are to take Mother's skates, — she says 



AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 253 

so — and come over to the Chapins' with me, 
and waltz around that pond, hugging a good 
stout chair till you can stand alone, and then 
some of us will take you on. But mind, you 
must learn to talk, too, for the rest of us can't 
discuss Shakespeare and French and Fabre's 
essays on insects all the time. You 're in danger 
of becoming a horrid highbrow, Candace Halli- 
day, and I'm convinced that it's my mission in 
life to cure you!" 



CHAPTEE XIX 

CAEY ATTENDS A LECTURE 

Candace was not wholly unwilling to be forced 
into skates and upon the ice. Her friends, ex- 
pecting a strenuous time over her efforts, were 
agreeably surprised, for with the aid of the 
wooden chair she picked up the stroke remark- 
ably soon. Being blessed with strong ankles, 
she was soon standing alone, and then actually 
skating, with Cary and Janet on either side. 

" There !" said Cary in triumph, " you '11 soon 
be going entirely alone and the next time Larry 
asks you to go skating, don 't you dare turn him 
down. ' ' 

Candace herself was amazed at her success, 
amazed, too, to find skating so much fun. She 
conceded to herself in private that an hour or 
so spent on the ice at discreet intervals, might 
not be time wholly wasted, but she steadily re- 
sisted Cary's resolve to make her dance. 

Mrs. Dexter, who watched with amusement 

254 



CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 255 

her daughter's funny determination that Can- 
dace should learn to play, finally advised Cary 
not to press the matter. 

"Wait till she wants to learn of her own ac- 
cord," she said. "Candace made a big conces- 
sion in skating and the other will come. We 
must remember that she is still lonely for 
Granny and not push her into too much at 
once." 

"Well, I'll wait, Mammy," agreed Cary. 
"But I don't believe Candace will ever learn to 
frivol gracefully. Why are you putting on 
your very best suit?" 

"To attend a meeting of the Mothers' Club," 
sighed Mrs. Dexter, "on a subject that doesn't 
interest me in the least, but which they seem 
to consider of vital importance, the ' Extermina- 
tion of the Rat. ' Cary, don 't you think that 's a 
terrible thing to discuss on a cold winter day 
in a town like Ridgefield? Have you seen a rat 
since we came!" 

"Oh, Mammy, how perfectly funny!" giggled 
Cary. "If visitors are allowed, do let me go, 
too." 

"Come if you like. There will be stereopti- 
con views of rats. If you want to risk dream- 



256 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

ing of them three feet long, come and look at 
them by all means. ' ' 

"When Cary and her mother reached the Town 
Hall, the room was already darkened for the 
lecture and most of the seats seemed taken. 

"We can't sit together, honey,' ' whispered 
Mrs. Dexter. 

"You go on ahead,' ' said Cary. "I'll find a 
single seat somewhere near the back and then I 
needn 't stay through it all. ' ' 

Mrs. Dexter went part way down the aisle to 
a vacant seat at the left. Cary lingered in the 
rear long enough to see that for some inexplic- 
able reason, the trustful mothers depended 
upon Van Eichards to manage the reflectoscope. 
Smiling with glee at the probable consequences 
of this misguided confidence, she slipped into a 
vacant chair in front of two stout ladies, and 
very near the back. 

The lecturer, a lady from out of town, stood 
beside the curtain, discoursing upon the havoo 
wrought by rats, their evil repute as carriers 
of disease, and the immediate necessity of 
sweeping them from the face of the earth. In 
her hand she held a buzzer, supposed to warn 
the operator that a new slide was wanted, but 



CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 257 

the arrangement was so faintly audible that 
Van really could not be blamed for not hitting 
the proper second on such slight notice. But 
delay was not the only variation Van managed 
to get into those pictures ; he inserted the slides 
sideways, even upside down, and Cary was re- 
duced to giggles over a huge rat lying helplessly 
on its back. The rat disappeared in a flash, 
only to loom out with disconcerting suddenness, 
sitting erect on its long tail, the pan from which 
it was feeding suspended by some occult means 
in mid-air. Did the lecturer mention a fine pub- 
lic building in New Orleans, a shanty in New 
York appeared ; did she call attention to a lab- 
oratory where scientific workers lent their 
brains to the work of extermination, Van ex- 
hibited a grinning row of little darkies, proudly 
holding up to the world double their number of 
dead rats. Every queer effect that could pos- 
sibly be produced with a stereopticon, electri- 
fied that audience till finally the lecturer ex- 
cused herself, said the slides must be in the 
wrong order, since it was evidently not the 
fault of the operator, and went to the back of 
the room to rearrange them. 

All over the darkened hall arose a hum of 



258 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

amused conversation, for Van had certainly 
added to the enjoyment of the lecture. Cary, 
still smiling over the last misfit, suddenly heard 
her name. 

1 'Yes," said one of the two ladies behind her, 
" that was Mrs. Dexter who came in a little late, 
and sat over there at the left, Charlie Dexter's 
wife, you know. They are the people who have 
taken Candace Halliday. I suppose it means 
they will adopt her in the end, but they have two 
girls of their own, and it 's hard on the one near 
Candace 's age. They've dressed Candace up 
till she's a regular beauty. Anne Dexter's an 
artist and of course it 's fun for her to have such 
a pretty girl about, but it's 'most too bad for 
her own daughter when her mother turns to a 
stranger that way. I hear Candace thinks the 
world of Mrs. Dexter and wants to do for her 
all the time. What queer things people do! 
Some folks may think it 's well enough, but I 'm 
mighty sorry for the other girl. ' ' 

Cary suddenly rose and went out quietly, tak- 
ing one keen look at the speaker as she passed. 
Her first impulse was to leave the building, but 
on second thought she delayed at the back of the 
hall, until the slides were sorted and she had a 



CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 259 

chance to speak to the boy operator as the lec- 
turer returned to the platform. 

"Van," she said softly, coming to his side, 
■ ' tell me quick. Who is that very stout woman 
in the second row from the back over here at 
the right, in the end seat, holding a bright blue 
hat on her lap 1 ' ' 

Van turned his intent eyes in the direction in- 
dicated. "A fat woman with a sky-blue hat? 
Oh, yes, it makes her look like a flat-headed 
kingfisher. That's Emmyline Elliott, spelled 
with a y, if you please. What about her?" 

"Nothing," replied Cary, "only I overheard 
her say something I didn't like." 

"Forget it," said Van concisely. "Nobody 
in Eidgefield ever starts anything in the least 
out of the ordinary but Emmyline Elliott fixes 
her false teeth in it. Don't talk now, Cary; I 
have to turn loose another rat." 

Cary went out into the keen air. She knew 
Van's advice was doubtless based on real knowl- 
edge of the person involved, but in spite of it 
she choked back a sob as she set her face toward 
the Butterfly House. Any one meeting her 
would have noticed onlv that she was in haste, 
but Cary was thinking hard and rebelliously. 



2 6o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

She very well knew that Candace adored her 
mother. Little by little she thought over events 
since that day when they were storm-bound on 
Cloud. It was true that Candace watched every 
opportunity to do any slight service for Mrs. 
Dexter; just yesterday she cleaned her palette. 
Cary never thought of doing that in all the 
years she had watched her mother paint. Can- 
dace did the mending whenever she could, — 
Cary's mending as well. She sharpened draw- 
ing-pencils; she never let Mrs. Dexter go up- 
stairs for any errand that she, Candace, could 
do as well. She amused Chrissy when that 
young person evinced a disposition to intrude 
upon some sketch; when they gathered round 
the fire in the evening while Daddy read aloud, 
— now Cary thought of it, — Candace would al- 
most always contrive to hold one of her mother 's 
hands. Certainly Mammy had been very keenly 
interested in those clothes for Candace, pleased 
because they were so becoming. Yes, — Cary 
faced it at last — Candace was truly beautiful 
and of course her mother enjoyed that. It must 
be nice for her to have such a pretty girl about. 

4 * She's far prettier than I am," thought Cary 
bitterly. "I know it and I'm willing so far as 



CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 261 

she's concerned, but it's terrible if my mother, 
my own mammy, likes her best just for that! 
And she is exceedingly clever. Mammy was so 
pleased with her report last month. She's 
ranked the whole school so far the entire year, 
and though I had honorable mention, mine 
wasn't scholarship of the first grade. It isn't 
fair for Candace to have both brains and 
beauty. ' ' 

Poor Cary! All the way home, all the time 
she was shut into her own room, she spent think- 
ing of incidents of Candace 's devotion and her 
mother's evident appreciation, finally coming 
to the conclusion that there was nothing at all 
to do, no way out of the matter but to suffer in 
silence. She heard her father come in, heard 
Chrissy laughing delightedly as he romped with 
her, and felt an impulse, which she had far bet- 
ter have followed, to run down, sit on his knee 
and beg him to tell her that Candace could never 
usurp her place either with him or her mother. 

After a while, Candace came into the adjoin- 
ing room, looked into Gary's, but did not see her 
in the dusk where she sat huddled in a chair 
overlooking the snow-bound lawn. Chrissy 's 
pattering feet followed and from their conver- 



262 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

sation bedtime seemed imminent. Cary did not 
stir. She permitted Candace to put the little 
sister to bed, did not even go down when she 
heard Candace in the kitchen, for it was Liz- 
zie's afternoon out, and lately on that day the 
two girls had helped prepare dinner. She sat 
alone in the dark until her mother returned. 

"You didn't stay through the lecture ?" she 
asked as Cary came into the hall. "Not that 
you missed anything, for Van mixed no more 
slides and things were painfully dull. Is Can- 
dace getting dinner alone? Why, Cary, you 
ought to be helping. Eun down and tell her 
I'll be there just as soon as I slip into another 
dress." 

Without a word, Cary went down to the 
kitchen. She slapped butter balls into their 
silver plate, filled the glasses, cut bread, but did 
not speak to Candace, who after her first pleas- 
ant greeting remained unanswered, ventured 
nothing beyond an occasional puzzled glance in 
Cary's direction. Mrs. Dexter came out, took 
the roast from the oven and tasted Candace 's 
mashed potato. 

"Nobody seasons potatoes quite so nicely as 
you, ' ' she remarked. " I '11 make the gravy. ' ' 



CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 263 

' ' Here is the thickening ready," said Can- 
dace, presenting a bowl. 

" Thoughtful child/ ' returned Mrs. Dexter. 
1 ' Would Lizzie let us have spiced grape if she 
were here? Let's risk it, Candace." 

Candace climbed on a chair to reach the top 
shelf of the preserve closet. 

"There's something sticky up here," she 
said. "I'm afraid a jar has broken." 

"Find it if you can," directed Mrs. Dexter, 
stirring her gravy. "Hold a lamp, Cary, so 
she can see." 

Cary took the lamp and held it up stiffly. 

"I have it," announced Candace, taking from 
the shelf a small jar of strained honey and hold- 
ing it from her at arm's length. The next in- 
stant the damaged bottom dropped out and the 
honey descended in a sticky mass upon the top 
of Cary's unprotected head! 

"Ow!" shrieked Cary. 

"Oh, don't drop the lamp!" cried her mother, 
abandoning the gravy and rushing to the 
rescue. 

"Candace, how could you!" moaned Cary. 
1 i You did it on purpose ! Oh, you horrid thing ! 
Mother, it 's running down my neck ! ' 9 



264 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Cary, stop dancing up and down and come 
over to the sink," commanded Mrs. Dexter, with 
difficulty suppressing her amusement, for Can- 
dace, a tragic figure of horror, stood on her high 
perch, the broken glass still in her outstretched 
hand, dribbling slow drops upon the floor, while 
Cary, almost beside herself with anger and dis- 
gust, was equally funny. 

"I'll never forgive you, Candace Halliday. 
I '11 get even with you for doing this ! Mother, 
it does feel so!" 

"I didn't mean to, Gary," Candace began. 

"You did!" snapped Cary. 

"Girls, don't talk about it," commanded Mrs. 
Dexter. "Candace, don't let that gravy burn. 
I've scraped off all I can, Cary." 

"It's 'way down my spine !" groaned Cary. 

"Now go up-stairs the back way," said Mrs. 
Dexter, rolling a towel around Gary's sticky 
head, "straight to the bathroom and undress 
and take a bath. I'll come and shampoo your 
hair. Candace, put these ribbons into the fire 
and then give Mr. Dexter his dinner." 

"But do eat yours," said Candace, almost in 
tears. "Let me help Cary. Oh, I'm so 
sorry!" 



CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 265 

"I won't let you help me," declared Cary 
wrathfully. "I shall never forgive yon. It 
isn't funny, Mammy, there's nothing in the least 
funny in having a whole hive of honey poured 
down your neck! I shall never think so, long 
as I live. And she did do it on purpose.' ' 

The honey-streaked Cary was so absurd in 
her wrath that her poor mother had to struggle 
mightily with a desire to laugh. But Candace 
looked shocked to her very soul. 

When Cary, still sputtering violently, had 
vanished up the back stairs, Candace turned to 
Mrs. Dexter. 

"I never meant to do it," she said solemnly. 
"I didn't know it was over her head. I didn't 
know the bottom would drop out. ' ' 

"Of course you didn't," choked Mrs. Dexter. 
Then she sat down in Lizzie's rocker and 
laughed until she cried. 

"Will she ever forgive me!" asked Candace 
still so solemnly that Mrs. Dexter laughed again. 

"Yes, she'll get over it," was the comforting 
response. "Cary is a little pepper-pot while 
she is upset, but her storms are brief. When 
her hair is washed and she is comfortable again, 
she will see how ridiculous it all was. I won- 



266 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

der if I dare trust myself to go up-stairs now." 
Fully two hours passed before Cary emerged 
from the bathroom, cleansed from honey, to 
drop exhausted into bed, ready for the dainty 
tray of dinner, which Candace brought to her 
door, and handed to Mrs. Dexter, whose eyes, 
in spite of the strenuous task of shampooing her 
daughter's hair, were yet laughing. Candace 
herself had not been idle during their period of 
seclusion. Lizzie's kitchen required consider- 
able cleaning. 

Next morning, after a night's rest, when Cary 
might reasonably be supposed to take a less per- 
sonal view of the episode, Candace again tried 
to apologize, but Cary coldly refused to discuss 
the matter. 



CHAPTEE XX 

VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 

From different directions but at the same 
moment, Amy Richards and her brother Evan 
arrived at the Ridgefield Public Library. Van 
politely opened the outer door for his sister. 

Amy regarded him suspiciously. Extreme 
courtesy on Van's part was never a favorable 
symptom; still, no immediate outbreak seemed 
impending. She stepped into the empty vesti- 
bule where on the woodwork of the basement 
door hung a neat little framed sign: "Please 
brush off snow." Below the sign stood a 
broom. 

Like the tidy, docile child she was, Amy 
brushed her boots with care, handed Van the 
broom and pushed open the door into the read- 
ing-room. Van swept his moccasins, replaced 
the broom, looked thoughtfully after his sister, 
took down the sign, drew a pencil from his 

pocket, wrote a few hasty words upon the brown 

267 



268 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

paper back of the frame, hung it up again with 
the frame reversed, and demurely entered the 
library. The sign now read: "Please close 
door to keep out mosquitoes and monkeys.' ' 

At the desk sat Miss Gilbert, the librarian. 
Van was on perfectly good terms with her, 
rather liked her in fact, and did not really mind 
her smile when he fell over chairs as he usually 
did, for it was uncommon for Van to spend any 
length of time in any room without tripping 
over some piece of furniture. He would have 
been grieved to know that Miss Gilbert and her 
assistant usually spoke of him to each other as 
the "baby elephant,' ' for a sense of humor was 
the last thing with which Van credited a person 
reputed to know as much as Miss Gilbert. Yet 
she could scarcely have been the successful 
librarian she was, had she not possessed a very 
keen appreciation of the ridiculous and also the 
power of keeping her amusement to herself. 

Van cautiously surveyed the reading-room. 
Mr. Dexter might be present and just now Van 
was not anxious to encounter the principal of 
the High School, having only that morning 
passed some mortifying moments in the office, 



VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 269 

during which his sins of omission and commis- 
sion were pointed out to him with painful clear- 
ness and lurid detail. The interview ended 
with a command to Van to transfer his books 
and personal possessions to a desk in the cor- 
ner of the office, and to occupy said corner when 
not actually engaged in recitations, until such 
time as Van, through exemplary conduct, should 
cause Mr. Dexter to forget his presence. 

Mr. Dexter might be lurking in the stacks or 
yet in the reference-room, but to a superficial 
inspection the coast was clear. At one table sat 
Janet Chapin and Candace Halliday, whom Amy 
had joined, perhaps by appointment. Old Mr. 
Neilson sat reading a paper. Six small chil- 
dren were choosing fairy-tales. Two ladies 
were looking at magazines. Mr. Gardner was 
consulting an encyclopedia. Several feathered 
hats were visible in the fiction stacks. 

Van advanced to the desk, successfully nego- 
tiating one table and four chairs, and asked 
Miss Gilbert for a life of Satan. 

The librarian, though inured to many strange 
questions, — she had just been asked for Shake- 
speare 's Lamb Tales — was startled into looking 



270 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

searchingly at Van. The mischievous scamp 
was probably trying to be funny. But Van ap- 
peared perfectly serious. 

"What do you want to know about Satan ?" 
she inquired. 

"I want to know where he was born and when 
he died and what his education was," Van ex- 
plained politely. 

For a second Miss Gilbert was silent. There 
was a familiar sound to these questions ; she had 
been asked before for information of this na- 
ture, though never in connection with the Prince 
of Evil. What could the boy mean? 

"What have you been reading, Van?" she 
asked. 

" 'Wild Animals I Have Known,' " replied 
Van with perfect frankness. "It's on the re- 
quired freshman reading list and I have to find 
out something about the author. ' ' 

Miss Gilbert bit her lip. "Oh, yes," she said. 
"That author is usually called Thompson-Se- 
ton. You '11 find him in this book. ' ' 

Van took the fat red volume and turned away, 
quite unconscious that the librarian left her 
desk to enjoy a quiet laugh in a secluded spot. 
Seating himself at a table commanding a view 



VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 271 

of the whole room, from which he could keep 
watch upon all who went or came, he wound his 
feet around the chair-legs, and placed the book 
in such a position that he could read while rest- 
ing his chin upon the table-edge. So contorted, 
he looked the imp he was, and Janet, catching 
one eye peering around his book, smiled back 
at him. 

Candace did not see Van. Intent upon get- 
ting up a topic for the morrow's weekly lesson 
in " current events," she paid no attention to 
anything except the reviews about her. Every 
Friday the last recitation period was devoted 
to a public resume of affairs of present interest, 
and students from each of the four classes spoke 
for three minutes upon subjects of their choice. 
To-morrow, Cary, Candace, Albert Frost, and 
Harry Jackson were to represent the sopho- 
mores. 

Mr. Dexter emphasized the importance of 
these brief speeches and through them stirred 
the school to real interest in their history-mak- 
ing times. Never before had father's morning 
paper been so eagerly demanded by the youth 
of the town, never had the weeklies in the public 
library enjoyed so many readers. Many a 



272 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

country home was brought into closer contact 
with the happenings of the world, just because 
the echoes of the Friday current events class 
penetrated to the four corners of Kidgefield. 

Candace had chosen her topic: the introduc- 
tion of the English " tanks" on the battle-front 
of the Somme. She spoke of it to Aunt Anne, 
because she could not find in the study the exact 
magazine describing them, and Mrs. Dexter 
recommended the file at the public library. 
Deaf and blind to all about her, Candace was 
trying so to condense and digest the account 
that she could give it accurately and concisely 
within the time permitted by the little three- 
minute sand-glass on the principal 's desk. 
Having finished her preparation, she noticed 
the heading of the next article: " Women's 
Work in the War," and stopped to read it. 

Across the room, Van chewed up a pencil, 
made a few notes concerning the author he had 
so innocently maligned, and rose to exchange 
his reference book for a volume of detective 
stories. 

Just within the sheltering stacks, the Eever- 
end Henry Kichards was looking through a book 
of essays. He knew that his daughter was in 



VAX VISITS THE LIBRARY 273 

the library, for she had dutifully come to speak 
to him, but of his son's presence he remained in 
blissful ignorance until a terrific crash in the 
otherwise quiet room, informed him of Van's 
probable arrival. 

"Whv Evan could not enter even the church 
without falling over a kneeling-bench or a pew- 
end or some other perfectly stationary article 
of furniture, was a mystery to poor Mr. Eich- 
ards. And why a modest, unassuming preacher 
of the gospel and his placid, conventional wife 
should have thrust upon them a problem like 
Evan was a greater mvsterv and one that 
seemed beyond explanation. Cutler, a most 
satisfactory addition to the familv. had re- 
mained so. Obedient, studious, taciturn, with 
manlv traits of character, Mr. Eichards could 
honestlv sav that Cutler had never given him a 
moment's anxietv. Amv was all that could be 
desired of a daughter, but from babyhood, Evan 
calmly threw the family conventions and pro- 
prieties to the winds. To do or say what might 
naturally be expected of him, seemed impos- 
sible, and poor Mrs. Eichards looked upon him 
with unfeigned alarm, not to say despair. 

Fortunately in the depth of her husband's 



274 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

personality, was a flicker of imagination, a 
feeble spark at best, but a glimmer sufficient to 
save Evan from forcible coercion. Mr. Rich- 
ards did not understand his son, but lie re- 
spected bis individuality. So firm was be in bis 
opinion that physical discipline was worse than 
useless, that Mrs. Richards, helpless to cope 
with the situation, repudiated all responsibility 
and left Evan, as she piously expressed it, in the 
" hands of the Lord," — doubtless the best place 
to which she could have consigned him. 

But the parish enjoyed the rectory youngest, 
and even critical tongues spoke kindly of Van's 
pranks. Only the organist and choirmaster, 
Mr. Gillespie, after enduring Van as a member 
of the choir for four rehearsals and two Sun- 
days, politely but firmly refused to tolerate him 
longer. He accused Van of no definable sin, 
merely stated that his presence was productive 
of sinful conduct in others. Van's mother was 
sorely disappointed, but Van privately congrat- 
ulated himself on having so soon and so easily 
accomplished his dismissal. 

On another occasion, temporarily thrust by an 
admiring junior society into the presiding chair, 
Van injected some "punch" into a missionary 



VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 275 

meeting by requesting all in favor of a certain 
motion to raise the right leg. 

When this shocking conduct was reported to 
his mother by a highly scandalized older sister — 
Cutler, be it noted, merely grinned — Van was 
unable to offer any valid excuse. 

"It was Amy's fault, Mother,' ' he declared. 
1 ' She sat there looking so proper, and I thought 
how funny she would be with one of her white 
stockings up in the air, and I had to say it. ' ' 

Yet there was a newcomer in Eidgefield, who 
bade fair to understand Van and eventually 
help him shape a rather brilliant destiny, though 
Van would have scoffed at such a possibility, 
especially after the interview of that morning. 
Mr. Eichards received an inkling of this one day 
when discussing his three children with the 
principal of the High School. Mr. Dexter made 
no comment on his eulogy of Amy, agreed in 
cordial praise of Cutler, but made a puzzling 
remark concerning Evan. 

"Wait a few years," he said. "Cutler is all 
you claim, but while he may count and classify 
the morning stars, Van is the one who will hear 
them singing together." 

This crash in the library reading-room 



276 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

sounded only too familiar, and with a pained 
expression on his countenance, Mr. Richards 
emerged from the stack to find Van picking him- 
self out of a chaos of books amid suppressed 
giggles from other observers. Who but Van 
Eichards could manage to upset a solidly con- 
structed revolving bookcase and do it while ap- 
parently passing at a safe distance? 

Fortunately no damage resulted. Mr. Rich- 
ards assisted his scarlet-faced son to right the 
stand and replace the books. Then he spoke a 
word of apology to Miss Gilbert. As he left the 
library, he considered taking Van with him, but 
perhaps the boy was really looking up refer- 
ences for school work. In the vestibule the sign 
caught his attention. In surprise he read its 
amended version, but he was not at all surprised 
to recognize Van's writing. For a second he 
stood wondering whether to call Van out of the 
library and make him erase his mischief, but 
after the pause he continued on his way out of 
the building. He did not even restore the sign 
to its original reading. Truly, that faint spark 
of imagination flickered sometimes to the credit 
of the Reverend Henry Richards as well as to 
the salvation of his son Evan. 




Mr. Richards emerged from the stack to find Van picking 

HIMSELF OUT OF A CHAOS OF BOOKS. — Page 276. 



CHAPTER XXI 

CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 

Next day, Candace awaited her turn in i ' cur- 
rent events' ' with an anxious heart. She was 
sure of her subject, sure she could treat it con- 
cisely and within the proper time, but to speak 
in public was never easy. 

This particular exercise included the whole 
school, and was always held in the big hall. 
About two hundred pupils were present, and 
while all knew one another, there were few who 
did not feel embarrassed to rise before that com- 
pany and talk without notes. 

When the school assembled, the teachers also 
came to listen and Mr. Dexter took his seat upon 
the platform. First, the seniors spoke, fol- 
lowed by the lower classes in turn. No one was 
announced, but was expected to rise spontane- 
ously in proper order. 

Gary Dexter, as coming first alphabetically, 
would speak first of the sophomores, Candace 
Halliday third, following Albert Frost. Can- 

277 



278 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

dace was determined to make her topic a suc- 
cess, partly because in every way she wished to 
please Uncle Charles, partly for her own fierce 
pride in her scholarship. 

Relations between her and Cary were still 
strained, for since the episode of the broken 
honey-jar earlier in the week, Cary showed no 
further desire to teach Candace to "frivol," 
and Candace fell back upon her books to console 
the feelings wounded by Cary's continued cool- 
ness. 

To-day's exercises were going well. All the 
senior speeches were interesting and to the 
point; with one exception the juniors merited 
praise, — Tom Colbert took more than the al- 
lotted time and was obliged to leave half-told 
his account of the American ambulance work. 
Next came Cary's turn. 

Candace did not know Cary's subject. She 
had asked, and received the short answer that 
it was undecided, but later heard Cary tell her 
mother that her preparation was completed. 
She rose, dainty, graceful and self-possessed, 
and for a second Candace gazed at her wist- 
fully. Cary had enjoyed so many advantages 
in her life; she had always lived in a lovely 



CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 279 

home, worn pretty clothes, traveled and known 
interesting people. Truly, she was very charm- 
ing. But what was Cary saying? 

Candace 's heart almost stopped beating. In 
her pleasant voice, with a nice choice of words, 
Cary was describing the British "tanks" and 
their use on the battlefield ! 

Candace gasped with horror. In a daze, 
she listened to such phrases as "caterpillar 
traction/ ' "armored fort," "bridging the 
trenches." Cary had taken her topic, her very 
own topic, stolen her subject, left Candace to 
make a mortifying failure, for failure it must 
be, since she was to follow immediately after 
Albert's speech, a speech that gave her but 
three minutes ' grace. 

For a moment, Candace was furiously, sicken- 
ingly angry, angry as she had seldom been in all 
her life. Cary's voice faded into nothingness 
as a sudden hot gust of fury swept her from 
head to foot. Yet through her rage she 
found herself thinking steadily, quickly. Time 
enough later to consider whether Cary meant 
this ; what she must face now was the question 
of her speech, close upon her. 

Cary concluded and sat down amid generous 



280 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

applause, for she was popular, had undoubtedly 
prepared her subject carefully and spoken ex- 
tremely well. She did not glance in Candace 's 
direction. 

Albert rose to announce his topic as the ' ' Tak- 
ing of Jerusalem. ' ' Three minutes left for 
Candace ! She looked up just then to meet Ja- 
net 's eyes. 

Janet had no idea of what was happening. 
No one saw anything unusual, least of all, Mr. 
Dexter, who only thought that his attractive lit- 
tle daughter had done herself credit. Candace 
looked white ; Janet thought she was frightened 
at her approaching trial, therefore sent her an 
encouraging smile. 

Candace loved Janet, of whom she saw much 
more since coming to the Butterfly House, and 
that smile decided the matter. When Albert 
sat down, blushing over justly earned applause, 
Candace rose. 

She was so pale and held so tightly to the 
back of the chair before her that Mr. Dexter, re- 
versing the tiny sand-glass at her first word, 
feared she was going to fail. But Candace 's 
voice was perfectly steady and calm. 

"I am going to tell you something of what 



CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 281 

women are doing in the war," she announced, 
and went on unfalteringly to enumerate and 
characterize various phases of self-sacrificing 
work. Not once did she swerve from her main 
topic, not once did she hesitate for a word, to 
all appearances it was a perfectly planned and 
perfectly delivered speech and it ended just as 
the last grain of sand dropped from the upper 
half of the glass, yet through all, Candace had 
a curious feeling that it was not she who was 
speaking, but somebody quite different, some- 
body entirely unconnected with Candace Halli- 
day. She was startled when her schoolmates 
began to clap. 

"When she sat down she looked at Cary, whose 
eyes were bent on the platform. There was a 
little flush on her cheeks, perhaps caused by the 
excitement of her own speech, but Cary's ap- 
pearance was innocence itself. 

Candace did not listen to the freshman topics. 
She was certain that Cary had been in the room 
when she was looking for that account of the 
tanks, sure she heard Aunt Anne 's advice about 
going to the library for the missing periodical. 
This was doubtless the way Cary had taken to 
* * get even ' ' for that baptism of honey, which she 



282 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

couldn't see was absurd, nor be willing to for- 
give. 

And what a revenge! Nobody could ever 
prove that she did it purposely; if taxed with 
it, Cary could politely deny any previous knowl- 
edge of Candace 's subject, perhaps declare, and 
possibly with truth, that she selected it first. 

The flood of indignation that carried Candace 
through her ordeal, subsided as suddenly as it 
came, leaving her tired and feeling as though 
she had been pounded. Janet gave her another 
smile, this time to convey her appreciation of 
Candace's success. She received a pathetic lit- 
tle one in response, not at all as though the 
speaker herself was satisfied. 

Directly after that period, school was dis- 
missed, and Candace, mechanically gathering 
her books, went to the dressing-room. 

"You did splendidly," Janet assured her. 
"I'm sorry you were frightened, Candace. 
You needn't have been for you and Cary were 
best of all." 

Others also congratulated her, but though 
Candace made suitable replies she did not re- 
gain her natural color and hastily put on her 
wraps and escaped into the air. 



CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 283 

How she wished she were climbing the moun- 
tain road back to the gray cottage on Thorn! 
To sit at the same table with Cary Dexter, as 
she must do within fifteen minutes, and act as 
though nothing had happened, seemed an impos- 
sibility. Every mouthful of food would choke 
her. 

The clear, cold air soon swept the tangles 
from Candace 's brain, and before she was half- 
way home, she could think more clearly, even 
feel more charitable toward Cary, who, after all, 
did have a terrible time with that unlucky 
honey; could realize that as things stood, she 
had decidedly the best of the affair. Not only 
had she avoided the ignominious failure Cary 
anticipated, but had risen to the occasion and 
risen very well. 

With this conclusion her spirits rose a little. 
Cary could make no comment without betraying 
herself, and Candace would take good care not 
to speak of the matter. She would keep abso- 
lutely still and let Cary think that she, Candace, 
had simply changed her mind and meant all 
along to speak on women's work in the war. 

On reaching the Butterfly House, Candace 
ran up to her room, brushed her hair and 



284 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

washed her hands, for she had been quick to 
fall into Anne Dexter 's dainty ways. She 
heard Cary enter the adjoining room on a sim- 
ilar errand, but neither spoke. 

Luncheon was served as soon as Mr. Dexter 
came in. At sight of him Candace felt uneasy. 
Suppose he should make some comment on the 
exercises of the last hour! Nothing would be 
more natural, since both girls had taken part. 
Candace steeled herself for this possibility, but 
the attack came from quite another quarter, 
when Mrs. Dexter, having completed her duties 
of serving, looked at her family. 

"Why, Candace, how pale you are! Aren't 
you feeling well?" 

1 * I think I must be hungry, Aunt Anne, ' ' said 
Candace, turning the color of a beet. 

"Were you frightened when your turn came 
to speak ?" asked Mr. Dexter, looking at her. 
"You did very well, Candace. So did Cary. I 
was proud of both my girls." 

At any other time, this speech would have 
warmed the cockles of Candace 's loyal heart, 
but she scarcely heard it in fear of what might 
follow. 

"Oh, the tanks," said Mrs. Dexter with inter- 



CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 285 

est. "I don't think you told me your choice, 
Cary." 

"You're mixed, Anne," said her husband be- 
fore the confused Cary could speak. "Cary 
spoke of the tanks; Candace gave us an excel- 
lent summary of what women are doing in the 



war." 



Anne Dexter wasn't easily "mixed" and she 
was very certain which of the two girls went to 
the public library after the missing number of 
the Scientific American, But she was also ex- 
tremely quick-witted, and one glance at her 
daughter's face, now as flushed as Candace 's, 
made her sure that something had gone wrong 
at school, equally sure that Mr. Dexter did not 
know about it. 

"Probably some consequence of that honey," 
she thought to herself. "How silly of Cary to 
harbor a grudge for a mere accident. Well, it 's 
no use to say more and perhaps precipitate a 



scene. ' ' 



"You'll be interested to know that Chrissy's 
crow has turned up again," she said with a sud- 
den change of subject. "Mrs. Eandall tele- 
phoned me this morning and said her maid 
rushed down-stairs screaming and declaring 



286 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

there was an evil spirit in her room. When 
Mrs. Randall went up, the crow was on the 
maid's bed with his wings stretched so that he 
looked enormous and seemed to cover half the 
quilt. Nothing would reassure the maid but to 
have the window-screens put in as though it 
were summer." 

At mention of her quondam visitor, Chrissy 
monopolized the conversation, and nobody again 
referred to the current events class. But Can- 
dace, venturing a look at Cary, found Cary 
stealing a glance at her, and from the way 
Cary's eyes fell, she knew beyond a doubt that 
her choice of subject that morning was no chance 
coincidence. 



CHAPTER XXII 

ON KIDGE ROAD 

After luncheon, Mr. Dexter took his skiis and 
left to meet the group of boys with whom he had 
promised to climb Cloud ; Mrs. Dexter returned 
to the little smock she was embroidering for 
Chrissy, Candace went up to her room and Cary 
disappeared. 

About three, Janet came. From her window, 
Candace saw her walking quickly up the street 
and paused in her task of darning a stocking, to 
see whether she would stop or go on to Amy's. 
But Janet opened the gate of the Butterfly 
House. 

Candace started to go down, then stopped, 
wondering whether the call was meant for her 
or for Cary. Under ordinary conditions she 
would have run down at once, but such thun- 
dery atmosphere demanded caution. Only a 
few moments passed before Janet's feet were 
heard on the stair. 

287 



288 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"Our Lady Anne said you were up here,'' 
she remarked gayly as she tapped at Candace 's 
door. "Come out and slide, Candace, — that's 
a dear. Where is Cary?" 

"I don't know," Candace replied, putting 
down her darning-ball. "I don't believe I'll 
go, Janet. I've studying to do." 

"But it's Friday," protested Janet, "and the 
Kidgefield High School is permitted, yea, en- 
couraged, to play upon Fridays. The coasting 
is fine. Cutler came for our big double-runner 
and all the others are out with theirs. It will 
do you good, Candace, and it's a positive duty 
to enjoy such a wonderful winter day. Put on 
an old skirt so you won't care what happens. 
Mother made me wear such a wreck that I feel 
like a rag-bag. I wonder where Cary is. ' ' 

"Were you asking for Cary?" said Lizzie's 
voice in the hall. "She took her knitting and 
went off toward the rectory." 

"We'll stop and see if both of them won't 
come," replied Janet. "But Amy doesn't care 
much about sliding and I expect Cary's too 
dressed-up." 

"I'll be ready in a minute," said Candace, 
slipping off her new school dress and going to 



ON RIDGE ROAD 289 

the closet for the shabby old serge skirt dating 
from the days on Thorn. 

Over at the rectory Cary was established on 
the couch with her army sweater, while Amy at 
the piano was picking out hymns. Now hymn- 
playing, even though indulged in during a sec- 
ular day and hour, is really not an occupation 
to be seriously criticized, but his sister's per- 
formance was driving Evan nearly wild. 

To begin with, Amy was not truly musical, 
and Van, though nothing could induce him to 
sing, possessed a correct and sensitive ear. 
Then Van simply couldn't endure hymns, and 
he had heard a good many during his short life. 
It was not the hymns themselves that he so dis- 
liked, but the peculiar effect they produced upon 
him, — twisting his insides somehow awry, giv- 
ing a queer sensation to his knees and his throat. 
He was always dumb when hymns were on the 
program. Amy's present choice was one of his 
pet aversions, well-calculated to torture his in- 
most feelings. In these days, he frequently suf- 
fered from it in church. 

"Wake in our breast the living fires; 
The holy faith that warmed our sires. 



290 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Thy hand hath made our nation free; 
To die for her is serving Thee." 

Van set his teeth and plunged deeper into the 
hall closet in search of his missing glove. 
Where had it gone ? His precious coasting mo- 
ments were fleeting fast. Worse and more of 
it! Cary was humming also. Well, she could 
at least carry the tune. 

"Amy," said Van in desperation, appearing 
at the door, "I saw a mouse under that 
piano — " 

Amy gave a wild shriek, threw up her hands 
and took refuge beside Cary on the sofa. Both 
girls curled up their feet. 

"There's my glove,' ' exclaimed Van, discov- 
ering it by the fireplace where he had himself 
left it to dry. "Cary, why don't you come 
coasting with the bunch 1 ' ' 

' ' Amy and I are going to knit, ' ' replied Cary. 

"Amy," asserted Van, pulling on his recov- 
ered glove, "knits exactly the way a donkey 
comes down hill. ' ' 

Cary giggled as Van, with expressive fore- 
fingers imitated the eccentric motion of his sis- 
ter's needles. "Isn't he dreadful?" she com- 
mented as the door slammed behind him. 



ON RIDGE ROAD 291 

"Dreadful isn't the word," sighed Amy. 
"He is the most impossible boy." 

The door suddenly opened to admit the head 
of the impossible boy. "I forgot to mention, 
Amy," he said, grinning wickedly at the two, 
"that the mouse was under the piano last Sun- 
day. ' ' 

"Last Sunday!" groaned his sister when 
Evan had really gone. "You know my new 
muff I had Christmas. It slipped to the floor 
during service, and Van not only knelt on it but 
stood on it. He said his feet were cold and it 
made an excellent prayer-rug. I didn't tell 
Mother because she is so discouraged anyway 
with Van. This morning she sent him down 
cellar to bring six eggs from the jar of water- 
glass. He fell up-stairs and broke five. Then 
when he came into the kitchen, the gas-stove 
broke, and as far as any one could see, he merely 
looked at it. 

"On Wednesday," Amy continued the cata- 
log of her brother's misdemeanors, "there was 
a choir supper at the church, and Mother sent a 
dish of scalloped macaroni. She packed it care- 
fully in a basket and gave it to Van to take to 
the parish house. He put it on his sled and 



292 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

coasted down hill with it. Well, the macaroni 
was eatable and it was eaten, but its good looks 
were gone forever. 

"This past month his school report was ter- 
rible, ,, Amy went on in a shocked undertone. 
"He had ' Excellent f in all the studies he likes 
and ' Unsatisfactory' in everything else, and of 
course in conduct. Van is so queer. Father 
hopes Mr. Dexter will have some influence over 
him if anybody can. ' ' 

"Daddy likes Van," observed Cary. "I 
know he does and he thinks Van has a lot in 
him." 

"He has," Amy assented fervently, "and if 
some of it ever gets out of his system, it will be 
a blessing. Here are Candace and Janet and 
they probably want us to come sliding. Do you 
want to go 1 " 

* ' No, let 's stay here, ' ' Cary answered quickly. 
"I don't feel like romping this afternoon, — and 
I don't care to be with Candace," she added to 
herself as Amy went to the door. 

"What! stay in when the snow is white and 
the sky is blue and the pines are green?" ex- 
claimed Janet. ' ' Oh, well, if you are so anxious 



ON RIDGE ROAD 293 

to get your knitting along, though we'd like 
your company. Tell Cary to come around by 
High Street when she goes home. Mrs. Dexter 
said she'd come that way from the Eed Cross 
meeting and slide with us a few times." 

Amy closed the door and Janet ran to over- 
take Candace, sauntering slowly on, reported 
the failure of her mission and the two joined a 
merry crowd at the top of High Street hill. 

The street, so-called from its elevation, ran 
along the foot of the Eidge, but it had little 
claim from the number of its houses to be known 
as a street, for it was nothing but a hilly country 
road, offering an excellent place for coasting. 
The incline fell steep, leveled out, dipped again, 
with no sharp bends to prevent the steersman 
from seeing his path far before his flying sled. 

No small children were on the hill when the 
girls arrived, for the youngsters preferred a 
gentler slope and a shorter climb, but half a 
dozen double-runners were in use and about 
fifty people were coasting. 

Half-way down High Street hill, another road 
led off, turning down a steeper slope into town. 
Because of the abrupt pitch and sharp curves, 



294 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

this road was less favored by coasters and only 
an occasional venturesome spirit strayed from 
the straighter path. 

Cutler saw the girls as soon as they came and 
since he was using Arthur Chapin's sled, called 
them to go down with him. The coast lasted a 
good three-quarters of a mile, and as they 
turned to climb back after the third descent, 
another double-runner passed, steered by Van 
Richards and bearing Mrs. Dexter among its 
merry young passengers. Candace and Janet 
waved their hands. 

" Let's wait for her," they agreed, and per- 
mitted Cutler, Ned and the Jackson twins to 
go ahead. 

For the next slide the coasters redistributed 
themselves. Cutler's sled was almost filled 
when the others reached the top and Van pulled 
his smaller runner about. 

" Stump you to go down Ridge Road," he 
called to his brother about to start. 

1 ' Cut it out, Van, ' ' Cutler said. * ' Too heavy 
a load for that hill." 

He added something else which none of them 
caught, as the sled slid into the distance. The 
light snow rose before it in a powdery shim- 



ON RIDGE ROAD 295 

mering cloud, the waving colored mufflers of 
the coasters made a bright spot in the shining 
landscape. 

"We're not too heavy/ ' said Van perversely. 
"I'm going to try it." 

No one objected, for neither the girls nor Mrs. 
Dexter had been down Eidge Road that winter. 
Van took his place at the wheel, Janet came 
next, then Mrs. Dexter and Candace last. They 
flew down High Street, swerved from the beaten 
track, and dropped down the first steep dip of 
Eidge Eoad. 

Had the driver of the empty wood-sled which 
was climbing by the less-used way, remembered 
to put bells on his horses that afternoon, Van 
might have heard their jingle; had there been 
any previous coasters on the road, the driver 
might have given more thought to which side he 
took at a curve, but there were no warning bells 
and the first the teamster knew was when the 
double-runner with its merry crew flashed upon 
him, coming thirty miles an hour. 

Evan did his best. He jerked the wheel to 
the right, brought the sled into the gutter, but 
the rear runners slewed. 

Half a minute later, Van, unhurt except for a 



296 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

bumped head and a bleeding nose, picked him- 
self up. From a bank of snow at his left, Janet 
was rising. Candace was already on her feet, 
but in the middle of the road, quiet and motion- 
less, lay Mrs. Dexter. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



van's evening 



Bad news, like rumor, travels far and travels 
fast. Though the accident took place on an 
unfrequented and lonely road, little time elapsed 
before word reached Ridgefield. It sped down 
High Street Hill on a flying sled, it hastened up 
Main Street by a passing automobile, gaining 
in horror at each house. 

When Mr. Dexter, with his merry young com- 
panions, slid down Cloud and skiied into town, 
pitying eyes watched his progress. His wife 
had been coasting, Evan Richards had upset the 
sled, and her wrist and ankle were broken. The 
next house had both wrists and one ankle; a 
third claimed it to be three ribs and her back; 
the fourth that it was her neck. The one point 
on which all were agreed was the responsibility 
of Van. 

Back on the wood road, where three terrified 

young people and a much frightened teamster 

297 



298 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

stood around Mrs. Dexter 's unconscious person, 
Van was experiencing the bitterness of despair. 
All the High School students admired the tal- 
ented, charming wife of their principal, but 
Van's feeling for her was mute adoration. 
And now he had doubtless killed her ! 

Disregardful of his bleeding nose, he stood 
in dumb horror. Janet, ever self-possessed, 
was first to shake off the paralysis of fear that 
held them all. Flinging herself on her knees 
beside Mrs. Dexter, she began to apply snow to 
the colorless face. After a few seconds the 
gray eyes opened, looked vaguely at Janet, only 
to close again. 

" Thank Heaven! she's alive!" muttered Ja- 
net. "Lady Anne, dear Lady Anne, tell us 
where you're hurt." 

No answer came to her pleading and Janet 
continued to rub her face with snow. In a mo- 
ment Mrs. Dexter spoke, though che did not 
open her eyes. 

"That's enough, Janet. Just let me lie 
quietly until I get my breath. ' ' 

"Dear Aunt Anne," sobbed Candace, "are 
you hurt?" 



VAN'S EVENING 299 

Two or three minutes passed, minutes that 
seemed an eternity to the anxious watchers. 

"Help me sit up, girls," she said at length, 
"but don't touch my left arm. I think it's 
broken. ' ' 

At the unnatural, limp position of that arm, 
Candace gave a gasp of horror. Holding Mrs. 
Dexter in a sitting position, Janet still knelt in 
the road. 

. "Don't be frightened," said Mrs. Dexter 
after another pause. "I think it is only my 
arm, except that I feel dreadfully shaken to 
pieces." 

"I'll turn my sled right round and take you 
home," offered the teamster. "There are 
horse-blankets to sit on, and the girls can sort 
of ease you along. As for you, Van Richards, 
you've a good man for a father, but how you 
ever happened to be his son beats me!" 

"Don't. Poor Van!" murmured Mrs. Dex- 
ter, too faint and ill to offer further protest. 

So the coasting party came sadly home. At 
a distance the dejected Van followed, wishing 
at every step that the earth would open for him 
as for Marcus Curtius, or that in place of a 



300 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Eoman forum where a gulf might yawn, Thorn 
would change into Vesuvius and bury him in an 
eruption of flame and lava. 

Kumor reached Cary, still at the rectory, and 
she flew home in terror, arriving just as did 
Mr. Dexter, who skiied through town on the 
wings of the wind. Already the sun had 
dropped behind the Kidge, and kindly darkness 
fell about the mournful arrival, a sheltering cur- 
tain that concealed Anne Dexter 's white face 
and weary attitude, Janet 's skirt, fit only for the 
ragman now, Candace 's tumbled hair and tear- 
stained cheeks. 

Nothing like trouble or danger shared in com- 
mon can so quickly sweep the dominance of self 
from our souls. During the rest of that strange 
confused evening, neither Cary nor Candace 
thought of the differences and dissension be- 
tween them. Dr. Chapin set the broken arm, a 
very pretty break, he styled it, examined every 
bone with care and pronounced Mrs. Dexter 
otherwise unhurt except for the nervous shock. 

Cary waited on the doctor, helped her mother 
to bed, flew up and down stairs like the loving 
daughter she was. Candace found her hands 
full with little Christine, who, frightened by the 



VAN'S EVENING 301 

confusion, wanted the mother she could not 
have. Candace coaxed her into Lizzie's pleas- 
ant kitchen, prepared her supper, told her 
stories while she ate, and then carried her up- 
stairs to make a frolic of undressing and bath. 
She tucked Chrissy into bed with a good-night 
song, doing all so successfully that the contented 
baby went to sleep without further fretting for 
her mother. 

When the regular breathing showed Candace 
that the little one would not know of her going, 
she stole quietly down again, to meet Lizzie in 
the hall. 

"Candace, will you tend the bell?" she asked. 
"It rings all the time, either that or the tele- 
phone, for half the town is asking for Miss 
Anne. My bread has riz up on me, and it will 
sour if I don 't turn to and shove it in. ' ' 

Candace assented willingly. Cary and her 
father were both with Mrs. Dexter and she 
would do anything to be of service. Slipping 
into the living-room, dark and deserted, she 
snapped on the low table-light. As she turned 
to the hearth where the logs had fallen apart, 
she stopped with a gasp of surprise. 

"Van, how you startled me!" she exclaimed, 



302 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

recognizing the boy huddled on the couch. 

Van lifted a misery-stricken face. "Is she 
going to die?" he asked mechanically. 

' ' Oh, you poor boy, hasn 't any one told you 1 ' ' 
said Candace sympathetically. "Dr. Chapin 
says she isn 't hurt except for the shock and her 
arm. There's the bell again. " 

Candace went to answer it and Van, listen- 
ing to voices in the hall, recognized that of his 
father. Acting on blind impulse, he dashed for 
the nearest door. Alas for Van — his ill-luck 
held and he landed in the sitting-room closet. 

Some one entered the room; Candace 's feet 
passed up the stairs over Van's head; others de- 
scended. 

"Oh, is it you, Harry ?" came the principal's 
voice. 

"Yes. How is she?" asked the rector anx- 
iously. 

Again Van listened to a synopsis of Dr. Cha- 
pin 's verdict. There was no escape from that 
closet and it wasn't dishonorable to listen, for 
he couldn't hear anything good of himself. No- 
body in Kidgefield could possibly have a good 
word to speak for him. 

" It is a genuine grief to us that Evan should 



VAN'S EVENING 303 

have caused this accident," Mr. Kichards was 
saying. "My sons seem fated to get your fam- 
ily into difficulties. I didn't blame Cutler so 
much, but Evan — " 

Could Van believe his ears ? Mr. Dexter, who 
only yesterday gave him such a terrific over- 
hauling, was actually taking his part. 

"Why, this was wholly an accident. I don't 
feel inclined to criticize Van. The girls, Anne 
herself, say he did the best he could. ' ' 

"Cutler told him not to coast on Eidge Eoad, 
told him it was dangerous. Evan should have 
taken heed." 

"No boy likes to obey orders from an older 
brother," came the reply. "Don't be hard on 
Van; he knows his mistake now. Is he at 
home?" 

"We haven't seen him," said Van's father in 
a discouraged tone. "If Evan were like most 
boys, I should expect him to show proper dis- 
tress and remorse, but he never seems to feel 
things like other people. ' ' 

It was then that Mr. Dexter made the most 
astonishing comment of all. 

"Doesn't feel?" he repeated. "I grant that 
Evan doesn't show his feelings, but I give him 



304 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

credit for having them, and rather intense ones, 
too." 

They passed from discussion of Van and his 
shortcomings, but the involuntary listener did 
not forget that remark. It gave him courage 
when the outer door closed upon his father, to 
steal from his hiding-place and intercept Mr. 
Dexter in the hall. 

"Oh, will you tell her," he begged, "just tell 
her that I never meant to hurt her?" 

"Why, she knows it, Van," said the principal 
kindly, not showing the slightest surprise at 
Evan's sudden incarnation in his front hall. 

"I wish I'd smashed up myself," Van went 
on brokenly, but stopped with a single eloquent 
gesture of both hands, a motion that arrested 
Mr. Dexter 's attention, occupied with other 
matters though he was. He had watched Van 
with interest at the prize-speaking, struck by 
the boy's unusual power of interpretation. 
Dumb and inarticulate though he seemed, Van 
could express himself and, moreover, possessed 
something worth putting into words. An 
amused thought crossed Mr. Dexter 's mind. 
How would Van's gentle, unworldly father and 
his conventional mother feel if their ugly duck- 



VAN'S EVENING 305 

ling should some day make himself famous? 
That Van was not merely clever and eccentric 
but had real and genuine ability of some kind 
was Mr. Dexter 's private opinion, as yet shared 
with none but his wife. But how Van's tragic 
eyes burned in his white face! This was the 
boy characterized by his own father as " unfeel- 
ing.' ' 

Mr. Dexter 's own eyes grew very kind. He 
had forgotten that youth could suffer so in- 
tensely. 

"Van, you shall see and tell her for your- 
self,' ' he said gently. "That will be best for 
you both. Come up with me.' ' 

At the head of the stairs he stopped. "Would 
you mind stepping into the bathroom first!" 
he asked. "You see your nose has been bleed- 
ing and the effect, when one sees you suddenly, 
is, er — , rather startling," he ended delicately. 

Anne Dexter was lying in her four-posted 
mahogany bed, rather white and shaken, but 
there was a cheerful note of color in the red rib- 
bons with which Cary had pinned each of her 
mother's two braids to the upper corners of the 
pillow. A little reading-lamp shone on the 
table by her side and the fire snapped brightly 



306 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

on the hearth. The room was very quiet, when 
Van, with an immaculately clean face, came 
shyly in alone. Mrs. Dexter held out her un- 
injured hand in welcome. 

Van had meant to express his deep regret 
and sorrow for the accident, but when he saw 
her looking like a little girl with hair parted 
and braided, so white and still except for her 
starry eyes, words deserted him. He abruptly 
turned away and hid his face. 

"Van, dear boy," said her gentle voice, as 
her hand clasped his closely. "Do you know," 
she added after a pause, as she saw that he 
could not speak, "years ago I had a baby son. 
He died when he was only a year old, but if he 
had lived, he would have been your age now. 
It's queer, but ever since I've been in Ridgefield, 
I have had such an odd feeling about you, — 
you of all the boys I've met, — as though you 
were the one my baby might have bee*n. Some- 
how, I feel sure he would have been like you, 
Evan, and I should have gone sliding with him 
and had a smash-up." 

Still Van did not say one word. There 
seemed no need for anything more, and both 
were silent until Van recalled that he had been 



VAN'S EVENING 307 

told to stay but a moment. He gave her one 
look and then stumbled out, blinded by tears. 
The principal, loitering in the upper hall, after 
a glance at him, withdrew to the shadows and 
permitted the boy to go down-stairs and out of 
the house alone. 

"Well, did Van make his peace?' ' he asked, 
entering his wife's room when the door had 
closed upon their visitor. 

His Anne smiled up at him. "Now you men- 
tion it, I can't recall that Van spoke to me, but 
his silence was truly eloquent. I understood 
without any words all he had to say." 



CHAPTER XXIV 

A TRYING SATURDAY 

Thanks to a telephone message from the But- 
terfly House, transmitted before Evan reached 
home that evening, he was received without re- 
proaches, if without enthusiasm. He looked 
pale and disheveled, but mentioned neither 
aching head nor sensitive nose, only too glad to 
escape everything except the forbearance and 
patience characterizing the family atmosphere. 
Cutler was the exception ; he completely ignored 
Van, though during supper he several times 
looked searchingly at him across the table. 

Like the fog in the poem, the snow next morn- 
ing came "on little cat feet." One moment the 
sky above Ridgefield arched gray but clear ; the 
next found it dimmed with silent flakes. 

They drifted past the six windows of Anne 
Dexter 's chamber where her wakeful eyes knew 
their first arrival, they clung to the Butterfly on 
Cary's side of the house, they entered the wide- 
open window of the room at the rectory where 

308 



A TRYING SATURDAY 309 

the Richards boys slept, tickling Cutler's face 
until he rose to lower the sash. Yawning vig- 
orously, Cutler went down to the furnace. 
When he returned to dress, Van still lay mo- 
tionless in the other twin bed. 

Under no circumstances would Van ever get 
up of his own volition and it was a part of Cut- 
ler 's routine to pull his sleepy and protesting 
brother out of bed at the proper moment. Cut- 
ler was nearly ready to perform this part of his 
morning program, was fastening his collar, 
when Van amazed him by getting up without 
assistance. The next second Cutler received a 
shock yet more serious for, reflected in the mir- 
ror, he saw his brother start to cross the room, 
stop in the middle, waver and collapse into a 
limp heap of blue pajamas. 

Never a person of many words, Cutler was 
one of prompt action. He dropped his collar- 
stud, picked up the unconscious Evan, deposited 
him again in bed and summoned a horrified 
mother, all before a minute passed. 

After a while, Van came to himself, to find 
Dr. Chapin doing uncomfortable things to his 
person, feeling his spine, fingering his head, 
asking questions, to which, considering them 



310 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

foolish, Van returned equally foolish answers. 
Finally the doctor produced a tiny electric torch 
and a small mirror, with which he flashed a ray 
of light into each of Van's big eyes and looked 
searchingiy after the ray. Then he gave a lit- 
tle nod and requested Mrs. Richards to bring 
him a glass of water. 

Van endured the inquisition patiently. He 
knew Dr. Chapin from intimate association dur- 
ing mumps, measles, chicken-pox, and a light 
attack of scarlet fever, when Van, confined to 
the third story of the rectory in charge of a 
trained nurse, refused to stay in bed and spent 
most of the time either conversing through a 
megaphone with admiring friends in the street 
outside, or in decorating the room with a frieze 
of devils cut out of red paper and pasted round 
its top. His nurse, by the way, required three 
weeks ' rest before undertaking another patient. 
To this list of childish complaints was added 
an attack of pneumonia, caused by skating on 
thin ice, a broken collar-bone, a dislocated 
finger, a strained wrist, both ankles sprained at 
different times, and a shoulder out of joint. 

Like most people who did not have to live 
with Van and were not responsible for his con- 



A TRYING SATURDAY 311 

duct, Dr. Chapin found the boy both interesting 
and amusing, and when Mrs. Richards left the 
room, he looked scrutinizingly at his patient. 

"I can't find any reason to suspect you've 
cracked your head," he remarked cheerfully. 
"What is wrong with you, sonny?" 

"I wish I were dead," replied Van with 
startling brevity. 

"Oh, no, you don't," said the doctor, not at 
all disconcerted. "You only think you do. 
We can't get rid of life's perplexities so easily 
as all that. If we could die every time we are 
up against something hard, I'm afraid few of 
us would live to grow old. It would be a cow- 
ardly way out of our difficulties, when you stop 
to think about it. I just telephoned Charles 
Dexter," he added apropos of nothing. "His 
wife had a very comfortable night. Her head 
is much better and her arm doesn't pain her 
seriously. She is coming out of it very well, 
very well indeed." 

As he spoke, Dr. Chapin looked kindly into 
Van's white face. A little flush crossed it and 
the big black eyes closed. 

"You aren't in pain, are you, my boy?" he 
asked again. 



3 i2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"No," said Van quietly, "only my head 
aches when I move and I feel rather sick. I 
don't know what made me flop on the floor. I 
didn't sleep very well," he added. 

"I thought that was about it," said the 
doctor. "You must remember that you were 
shaken up yourself, as well as worried because 
you happened to be steering when an accident 
happened that might have occurred to any one. 
Now, won't you try to sleep and not worry any 
more?" 

"I'll try," agreed Van, "but I wish Amy 
needn't come in here. She, — she is so virtuous 
that I shall have to slam things if she does." 

Dr. Chapin smiled as he took his departure. 
"I can't find that anything much is wrong," 
he said to Van's parents. "It is just the shock, 
both mental and physical. Keep him in bed if 
he will stay, and better not let him see many 
people, perhaps not even Amy." 

Over in the Butterfly House the family were 
early astir, Lizzie flying about her kitchen, pre- 
pared to rise to any emergency, to accomplish 
three times as much as usual should occasion de- 
mand. Cary in her blue corduroy kimono crept 
softly to her mother's door, was admitted for a 



A TRYING SATURDAY 313 

kiss, and returning to her own room, met Can- 
dace. 

"Can I do anything for Aunt Anne?" Can- 
dace asked anxiously, encouraged by Cary's 
quiet answer to her first query about the pa- 
tient 's night. 

"No," said Cary. "I'll do anything Daddy 
doesn't. I wish you'd look out for Christine." 

"Of course I will," Candace hastened to 
assure her. "Cary," she added hesitatingly, 
"won't you forgive me now for that honey? It 
was all an accident and I Ve felt so badly about 
it." 

"Oh, — the honey," remarked Cary, looking 
blankly at Candace, as though she really 
couldn't turn her mind so far into the past. 
"I don't care about that. I don't care about 
anything now, only I want to wait on Mother 
myself. You see the people who come and look 
after Chrissy." 

She went into her room, leaving Candace to 
wonder whether Cary, who no longer cared 
about the honey, — indeed, didn't seem to remem- 
ber it, — had also forgotten the "tanks." 

Dr. Chapin's visit, her mother's breakfast 
and toilet occupied Cary for most of the morn- 



314 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

ing. About eleven, Mr. Dexter went out to keep 
a business engagement, and Mrs. Dexter in- 
quired for the other girls. 

"Candace, I haven't seen her," she said. 
"And my little Chrissy, where is she?" 

"I guess one has been keeping the other 
busy," replied Cary. " Ought you not to rest, 
Mammy?" 

"Let me see them first. Candace 's hands 
must be full, else she would surely have come 
in before this." 

"I told her how you were," said Cary, and 
she had no choice but to summon Candace, who 
came gladly, bringing little Christine with her. 

"I was missing my other girls," said Mrs. 
Dexter, returning Candace 's kiss. "Careful, 
Chrissy, you must hug Mother very, very 
gently. ' ' 

"Mammy's hair is unbuttoned," announced 
Christine, touching with delighted fingers the 
long braids again tied to the pillow corners. 

"Very much so," laughed her mother. "Sit 
down, Candace dear, and tell me how things 
are going with you. I know Cary must want 
to get away for a few minutes, though I really 
don 't need any one with me all the time. I shall 



A TRYING SATURDAY 315 

get up to-morrow, — I could to-day, so far as I 
feel, though Dr. Chapin insists on my staying 
here. What is the outside news? Have you 
seen Van ? ' 9 

"Van is sick," said Candace. "Amy tele- 
phoned that they don't think it is serious, be- 
cause Mrs. Eichards found a package when she 
was straightening his room, with a circular 
bath-spray he brought home. She had never 
seen one like it and when she asked Van what it 
was, he told her it was his new halo, so they 
think he'll be all right by to-morrow." 

"I'm glad Van feels like joking again," said 
Mrs. Dexter, smiling. "If Chrissy is really go- 
ing to play with that box of buttons, do you want 
to read aloud, Candace?" 

"Oh, I'd love to, Aunt Anne," exclaimed Can- 
dace, reaching for the volume indicated. 

Mrs. Dexter lay quietly, listening to Can- 
dace's pleasant voice with its expressive in- 
tonations. Before long her eyelids drooped. 

Candace read more and more softly, till she 
thought it safe to stop. Then with a whispered 
caution to Chrissy, she led her from the room. 
Just at the door she met Cary, looking perfectly 
distracted. 



316 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"I was coming for you," she said. "Is 
Mother asleep? Oh, what a horrible day this 
is ! The tank has run over. ' ' 

"The tank?" queried Candace, her mind re- 
turning to the current events class of the pre- 
ceding morning. 

' < Oh, in the attic ! ' ' said Cary fretfully. ' ' It 
has to be filled every other day. Lizzie turned 
the water on as usual with that wrench over the 
kitchen sink — you must have seen it. Just as 
I came out of Mother's room, she told me it was 
on and that she was going over street to give 
some orders and for me to shut it off in ten min- 
utes. I forgot. If I'd stayed with Mother, 
Lizzie would have told you, and you'd remem- 
ber," Cary ended rather vindictively. 

"But what has happened?" asked Candace, 
still at sea. 

For answer, Cary impatiently indicated the 
side hall where a flood was pouring down the 
attic stairs. 

"Have you turned off the water?" demanded 
Candace, galvanized into action. "Then we 
must wipe it up." 

This sounded a simple proposition and the 



A TRYING SATURDAY 317 

two started bravely to mop the deluge, finding 
to their horror, the floor of Christine's room 
inundated and the bathroom ceiling soaked like 
a sponge. Try as they might, they could not 
seem to keep up with the water, seeping through 
the thoroughly soaked floor. 

"I wish Lizzie would come," said Candace 
after half an hour's hard work made little 
impression on the disaster. Chrissy was in 
Cary's room, quiet over her sister's trinket- 
box. 

"She'll be horrid cross when she does come," 
sighed Cary. "She'll say it is my fault." 

But Lizzie, like many sharp-tongued people, 
was sometimes unexpectedly charitable. When 
she arrived, she surveyed the two girls, both 
desperately working, and shook her head. 

"What a mess!" was her only comment. 
"Cary, you're as wet as sop. Give me that 
cloth, and you go straight and get into dry 
clothes. It's possible to wipe up water without 
wading into it up to your neck. Candace isn't 
half-drowned. Candace, you fetch the tack- 
lifter. All the matting here in Chrissy 's room 
must come up. Now, don't either of you say 



ji8 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

one word of this to Miss Anne. I won't have 
her worried. What possessed the old tank to 
run over to-day, of all days?" 

By luncheon, the flood was stayed and merely 
the discolored bathroom ceiling and Chrissy's 
bare floor remained to tell the tale. Mrs. Dex- 
ter, waking from a refreshing nap, noticed only 
that Cary, who brought her tray, had changed 
to an afternoon dress. Her luncheon showed 
no trace of a disorganized household, and no 
one told her of the hominy burned black while 
Lizzie helped the girls, the wreck of one care- 
fully arranged tray, dropped by poor Cary, the 
minor tragedies of groceries that did not come 
and a telephone that rang steadily. All that 
afternoon, Candace vibrated between door and 
receiver, until at last, utterly tired out, she 
dropped asleep beside Chrissy's crib, moved 
into her room, lest any dampness remain in the 
other. The one bright spot in that terrible day 
passed unnoticed by either girl, — the fact that 
ever since the tank ran over, they had been 
pleasant to each other. 



CHAPTEE XXV 

CARY GOES SHARES 

Though she spent but one entire day in bed, 
for the next three weeks, Mrs. Dexter was de- 
pendent upon the services of her daughter, for 
naturally with her left arm in a sling, she could 
not arrange her hair nor dress without assist- 
ance. 

Very quickly the family in the Butterfly 
House settled into a definite routine. Cary 
dressed and went down to arrange her mother's 
tray; Candace dressed Chrissy. After break- 
fast Cary helped her mother, while Candace put 
the house in order. Then they hurried off to 
school, and Lizzie kept an eye on both Chrissy 
and Mrs. Dexter. 

"Why don't you and Candace change occu- 
pations!" Cary's mother asked her one evening. 
"Don't you want the fun of tending Chrissy 
sometimes? Candace would give me the little 
help I need now. ' ' 

319 



320 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

" Don't you want me to help you?" Cary 
asked playfully, as she brushed her mother's 
hair before the open fire. 

"Of course, I want you, dearie. I only 
thought you might like a change and that Can- 
dace also would be pleased. She seems so 
pathetically anxious to wait on me. She has 
been a real help to us, hasn't she?" 

Cary suddenly laid aside the brush, knelt on 
the rug and clasped her mother tightly. 

"Mammy," she whispered after a pause, "I 
know Candace is lovely to look at, and she can 
do ever so many things I can't, and she manages 
Chrissy much better than I do, but, Mammy, 
you are mine, you know. I can go halves in you 
with Christine, but not with Candace." 

1 ' Cary, you ridiculous child ! Look at me this 
instant. Do you mean to say you are absurd 
enough to be jealous?" 

"Absurd or not, I can't stand it if you love 
her too much." 

"Oh, Cary," said her mother, laughing. "I 
thought you had more sense. What a silly lit- 
tle girl!" 

Cary's embrace tightened as Mrs. Dexter 's 
cheek rested on the top of her head. 



CARY GOES SHARES 321 

"I do love Candace," said her mother gently. 
"I think I must love any young thing for whom 
I was in any way responsible, and Candace is 
very lovable, but as for usurping your place, — 
why, Cary, only when you have a child of your 
own, will you know how impossible that is. No- 
body can ever be to me what you and Chrissy 
are. Never think that again. Daddy and I are 
interested in Candace and have grown to love 
her, but beautiful and charming as she is, she 
isn't our Cary. ,, 

' i Mammy, I have been horrid to Candace," 
confessed Cary, a little later, lifting a teary 
face upon which happiness now shone. "The 
very day your arm was broken, I played a mean 
trick upon her. Listen to what I did and then 
see whether you can keep on loving me." 

" Candace was certainly very quick-witted to 
change to another topic on such short notice," 
said Mrs. Dexter when she had heard the tale. 
"Have you made it up with her, Cary dear?" 

"We haven't had time to think of our dis- 
agreements," Cary admitted. "I don't be- 
lieve she has thought of it again any more than 
I did, till now, when I was realizing what a hor- 
rid person I am to be your daughter. No, you 



322 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

needn't say it, Mammy, I won't be such a little 
idiot again, and I'll let Candace have her share 
of you." 

Candace surely received a surprise that eve- 
ning when Cary came from seeing her mother 
into bed. "I've decided it is time for you to 
resume learning to frivol," she announced. 
"So, to-morrow, I'll dress Chrissy and you may 
take up Mother's tray. And, Candace, I'm ter- 
ribly sorry and ashamed about those tanks." 

"For mercy's sake, Cary, it isn't running, is 
it?" exclaimed Candace, in dismay. 

Cary giggled in spite of herself. "I didn't 
say tank, but the plural, ' ' she went on : " Your 
current events topic. It was hateful, but, oh, — 
everything went wrong with me! I can't be- 
gin to tell you about it, but you don't care now, 
do you?" 

"No," said Candace, somewhat puzzled, for 
Cary had evidently been crying and yet seemed 
in gay spirits. 

"Just hit me with a poker the next time I'm 
horrid, will you? Because it won't be Anne 
Dexter 's daughter who's doing it, but a change- 
ling in her place," was Cary's enigmatic re- 
quest, but she put her arms around Candace 's 



CARY GOES SHARES 323 

neck and kissed her, a token of affection that 
brought tears to the other girl's eyes. 

The second victim of the coasting accident 
soon recovered both physical and mental bal- 
ance. Van was not at school the first Monday, 
but on Tuesday appeared at the assigned desk 
in the principal's office in such a state of meek- 
ness that Mr. Dexter with difficulty concealed 
his amusement. After anxious inquiries for 
Mrs. Dexter, Van obliterated his personality for 
the remainder of the morning. 

"Van," said the principal at the close of 
school, "I believe you were to sit in the office 
until such time as I should forget your pres- 
ence. I have done so literally to-day, so I sup- 
pose the penalty expires automatically. I wish 
I could be sure that the reform were to be 
permanent.' ' 

"I guess it will last longer than you think," 
Van answered very quietly. 

Mr. Dexter gave him a keen glance. "I'll 
take your word for it," he replied as briefly, and 
for the next month derived much entertainment 
from the outspoken comments of his staff of 
teachers, all at a loss to account for the sudden 
goodness of Evan Eichards. 



324 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

At the end of three weeks the splints came off 
the injured arm, but some time passed before 
Mrs. Dexter regained its full use. Cary was 
as good as her promise, she showed no further 
disposition to prevent Candace from being with 
the invalid, and only dropped furtive kisses on 
her mother 's head or hands in passing, that in- 
dicated deep feeling. Candace accepted with 
joy Cary's resumed friendship, indeed, never 
suspected that the estrangement had been from 
jealousy instead of resentment over an unfor- 
tunate accident. Candace *s school work suf- 
fered during those busy weeks, bringing her 
and Cary more nearly on a level. That she 
could accept a lowered mark with equanimity, 
knowing it had fallen because of higher duties, 
in itself indicated that Candace was less in 
danger of becoming Cary's " horrid high- 
brow. ' y 

"I saw such a funny thing, Mammy," said 
Cary, coming in one afternoon, dressed to go 
out. "When I came from school, I looked up 
Chestnut Street as I crossed. You know how 
hilly it is, and you know, or rather you don't, 
being too precious and easily breakable to be 



CARY GOES SHARES 325 

allowed out, how very slippery everything is 
to-day. 

"I looked up the street and in the center, 
sitting right down, fat Mrs. Fenway was coast- 
ing down the hill, not on a sled, understand, 
but just flat on the street. About three feet to 
one side of her, and exactly keeping pace, slid 
Mrs. Fenway 's market-basket, out of which 
stuck several parcels, including a package of 
Post Toasties. Some distance behind Mrs. F. 
sprinted two brave men, madly trying to over- 
take her and the basket. One after the other, 
each sat down and joined the procession. I, 
at the foot of the hill, remained rooted to the 
spot. As Mrs. Fenway progressed nearer me, 
her smile grew wider and mine widened to cor- 
respond. Finally she came to a gentle stop a 
few feet away. I was about to help her up, but 
she said I'd better not because if she fell again 
and landed on me, I'd be merely a pressed 
flower! Consider, Mammy, your lovely sylph- 
like daughter as a pressed flower ! 

"One of the men overtook the basket and 
picked it and himself up, but the other skewed 
into the gutter part-way down the hill and 



326 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

abandoned the chase. It was funny, for Mrs. 
Fenway must weigh over two hundred. Van 
says she's so fat that you can't get within 
two pews of her at church! She laughed her- 
self, for she couldn't help knowing how very 
queer she and the basket must look." 

"Cary, I must make a sketch of that coast," 
laughed her amused mother. "Are you going 
down to the village?" 

"Yes, with Candace. She wants to do an 
errand and I have one too, so we are going to- 
gether," Cary replied, slipping the ring of her 
muff over her wrist. "I always take my lynx 
on a leash for fear it will escape. Shall Chrissy 
go?" 

"I think it's hard walking for her and she 
was out a long time this morning. Have a good 
time, both of you." 

As the two girls started, Mrs. Dexter looked 
after them affectionately. Both had improved 
from the living with each other. Candace was 
much less shy and awkward, Cary, less pug- 
nacious and quite inclined now to accept Can- 
dace on a sisterly basis. They went down the 
walk chatting very amiably. 

At the rectory, where they stopped to see if 



CARY GOES SHARES 327 

Amy would come with them, they found her 
busy over a delayed essay which must without 
fail be handed in the next day. 

"I chose from the list they gave us, ' Why We 
Are at War, ' ' ' sighed Amy, i ' and I went to the 
library, expecting to get a nice book about it, 
but all Miss Gilbert would give me was Presi- 
dent Wilson's address to Congress, and it is 
very difficult. And Van is so trying. He's 
suddenly taken to behaving properly at school, 
but he has dreadful relapses at home. He made 
a little electric motor that worked quite nicely 
and persuaded Delia to let him attach it to the 
egg-beater. It worked, — it worked very well, 
but during the process the eggs absolutely van- 
ished. Nobody understands what happened to 
them, but Van thinks so much air was pumped 
in that they evaporated. He wanted to try beat- 
ing butter and milk together, but Mother would 
not let him. It might have worked, or the whole 
thing might have turned into cheese, but Mother 
said both were too expensive to waste. So then 
he put it on the sewing-machine, but started the 
treadle too soon and the machine needle went 
clear through his finger. Mother and I are both 
tired out." 



328 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Candace and Cary were laughing as they 
went their way. Their errands took them past 
the shopping district and down a steep hill lead- 
ing to the lower village. At the top of this in- 
cline stood a very heavy auto-truck, piled high 
with machinery. The driver had gone into the 
corner drug-store. 

1 i What an enormous load," Cary observed 
as they passed. 

" Isn't it?" agreed Candace. "Is Chrissy to 
have a party for her birthday next week! 
Aunt Anne spoke of it before her accident and 
since then it has been crowded out." 

"We'll plan something," replied Cary. 
"Last year when she was three, Mother invited 
six children and their mothers and we had a 
beautiful time. But after everybody had gone, 
we found the birthday cake in the pantry. 
Mammy forgot all about it and so did I! She 
thought she was a very unnatural parent to 
make a party for her child and forget the most 
important thing. Good gracious, Candace, 
what is happening!" 

From behind came shouts of alarm or warn- 
ing or both. The girls turned to see the big 
auto-truck, no one at the wheel, sliding down 



CARY GOES SHARES 329 

the hill and gaining momentum each second. 
The brakes, set when the driver left it, had 
broken or worked loose ; the track once started 
down that slippery slope was a terrible menace. 

Farther down the hill, people on the sidewalk 
made abrupt dashes for shelter at either side, 
warned by the frenzied shouting. Fortunately 
the road was clear of vehicles, but half-way up, 
right in the middle of the street were two tiny 
children from the French-Canadian settlement, 
dragging a sled behind them. 

Stiff with horror, Cary shrank back against 
the wall, but Candace did not hesitate. Disre- 
garding the frightful object careering down the 
hill, she rushed for the children, seizing one with 
either hand and dragging them toward safety. 
But the little ones, jerked off their feet by her 
sudden onslaught, were a dead weight. Stop- 
ping where she stood, Candace deliberately 
lifted first one and then the other, sliding them 
across to the sidewalk. 

At that moment the truck blotted her from 
the sight of the terrified Cary. She heard the 
crunch as the sled, left in the street, crumpled 
like a match under the powerful wheels. The 
truck passed, to continue its mad career until 



330 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

it crashed through a stone wall and dropped 
into the river, but Cary did not see what became 
of it. On the other side of the street, where 
she had been tossed by the monster, lay Can- 
dace. Beyond her, safe on the sidewalk, clutch- 
ing each other and screaming with fright, stood 
the two little children. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 

Long ages afterwards, Candace came back 
from a world where it seemed that she had been 
forever, a dim, gray world with zigzag flashes 
of lightning playing on a distant horizon in a 
dreadful monotony of pain. 

Gradually the mist grew lighter, the flashes 
fainter, and very far away, low voices sounded 
murmuring words of love. Consciousness came 
in sickening waves, and Candace finally opened 
weary eyes upon her own room in the Butter- 
fly House, with Aunt Anne sitting by her side, 
Dr. Chapin and a white-capped nurse bending 
over her, and at the foot of the bed, looking ter- 
ribly serious, Uncle Charles. 

"What has happened ?" Candace asked, won- 
dering why all the faces looked so anxious, save 
Aunt Anne's, which wore a shaky smile. Then 
she realized that her head, shoulder and chest 
were all bandaged. Next came full recollection. 

331 



332 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"The children, ' ' she asked, "were they 
hurt!" 

"No, Candace," said Dr. Chapin gently. 
"You saved them both." 

"And Cary?" she added, after a second. 

"Perfectly all right," replied Aunt Anne, 
kissing her. "Go to sleep, dear, and don't try 
to think." 

"But what has happened to me?" Candace 
persisted uneasily. 

"Don't try to move, dearie," said the nurse. 
* ' The truck knocked you to one side and banged 
you up a little, but we are going to make you 
right very soon. Now, drink this." 

Candace obeyed. Then, with one hand 
clasped in Aunt Anne's she again drifted into 
oblivion, this time merciful and dreamless. 

Down in the living-room, Cary was clinging to 
Janet and crying desperately as they waited 
for word from above. Not until Candace be- 
came conscious could they be certain how badly 
she was hurt. 

Fortunately the suspense was not long. 
Soon both Dr. Chapin and Mr. Dexter came 
down to the anxious girls with a cheering re- 
port. Candace had not been run over, only 



A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 333 

tossed aside by a glancing blow as the truck 
careered past; her head and shoulder bruised, 
three ribs broken, but no irreparable injury. 

"Talk of heroism !" said Dr. Chapin, blow- 
ing his nose. "In these days our girls as well 
as our boys do brave deeds.' ' 

" Father,' ' said Janet, taking him by the 
hand and drawing him into the hall, "I think 
I can be of use here for a little. Cary will have 
to move out of her room so Candace's nurse 
can be next door, and I will help her." 

"Cary must go to bed herself," said Dr. 
Chapin. "She has had a serious shock and 
fright. Get me a glass from the dining-room, 
Janet, and I'll leave something for you to give 
her after you get her settled in bed." 

Back in the living-room, Cary had seized her 
father and was sobbing hysterically on his 
shoulder. 

"Daddy, I am a coward, the biggest coward 
on earth! I stood there bes'ide Candace and I 
saw the truck coming and the children, and I 
never moved. It never occurred to me to try 
to save them. If I thought at all it was that 
they were only little French-Canadians from 
the lower village. The only idea I had was to 



334 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

get out of the way myself. Oh, I am so wicked 
and such a coward !" 

"Listen, little girl," said Mr. Dexter tenderly, 
smoothing the disheveled head that rested on 
his shoulder. "There are different kinds of 
heroism. And the kind that saves life in a 
sudden emergency is almost always an impulse, 
good and noble, but still an impulse. When 
Candace is able to talk, I think you will find that 
she didn't think what she was to do, — she sim- 
ply did it, — moved by a force that swept every- 
thing before it." 

"That makes me worse,' ' sobbed his daugh- 
ter. "I did think and it was only of myself. 
I didn't care about the children." 

"You may be right in thinking that you do 
not respond to an outside stimulus, as we call 
it, so quickly and instinctively as Candace, but 
that does not prove you incapable of heroism. 
There are different kinds, though this is the 
one that the world most readily recognizes. 
Just every-day life calls for real heroism. You 
have been courageous in that way all the time 
that Mother has been laid up." 

Her father's words gradually brought com- 
fort to Cary. When Janet returned she was 



A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 335 

calmer, and after one look at Candace, comfort- 
ably asleep, she made no objection to going to 
bed herself in the southeast room to which Janet 
transferred her possessions. Janet stayed with 
her till into the evening, and later, waking from 
a troubled dream, Cary suddenly realized that 
her father sat reading by a shaded lamp in her 
room, and somehow his very presence instantly 
banished the sense of horror with which she had 
started up. 

For several days Candace was seriously ill, 
too ill to know how her plucky act had thrilled 
Eidgefield, unable even to see the flowers that 
came, or know of the many inquiries made for 
her at the Butterfly House. But in a short time, 
she began to gain, and her convalescence was 
so rapid that Amy and Janet, as well as Cary, 
were admitted as daily visitors. 

Naturally the Ridgefield weekly paper made 
the most of the runawav truck and the rescued 
children, an item copied into a Burlington daily, 
which pictured the Lefevre twins as large as 
life and twice as handsome, Jean Baptiste at- 
tired in a Lord Fauntleroy suit, Rose Marie in 
a plush coat and bonnet. The reporter who se- 
cured these triumphs of the photographer's 



336 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

art tried in vain to obtain a picture of Candace. 
Papers as far away as Boston and New York 
gave a paragraph to the event, and some in- 
formation concerning Candace and her native 
town so astonishing in its inaccuracy that mod- 
est Candace would never have recognized her- 
self as the central figure. 

One day the morning train brought a stranger 
to Kidgefield, a gentlemanly, middle-aged per- 
son, whose business in the place remained a 
mystery till the drug-store clerk announced that 
he was a reporter for a high-toned New York 
weekly. This surmise seemed proved correct, 
for, whatever use he intended to make of the 
material gathered, he showed great interest in 
finding out exactly what happened on the day 
the truck plunged down the hill. 

He interviewed at least ten persons who had 
been witnesses of the affair ; spent half an hour 
in the two-roomed cabin occupied by the Le- 
fevres, listening patiently to eulogies of the 
miraculously rescued twins ; surveyed the truck 
where it yet lay, a mass of ruins showing above 
the river ice ; he called on the Keverend Henry 
Richards. Then he appeared in Dr. Chapin's 



A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 337 

waiting-room, to be shown into the office on ar- 
rival of his rightful turn. 

Next, he was reported at the Butterfly House, 
and it was fortunate, all Eidgefield agreed, that 
Candace was now living there, for a picture of 
the butterfly so familiar to all would lend an 
unusual touch to that sketch for which he so 
earnestly sought material. There were even 
wagers as to whether he would gain admittance, 
for it was known that Lizzie shut the door in 
the face of a correspondent from a Montpelier 
paper, and that Mr. Dexter refused to see him 
when he audaciously invaded the High School. 
But after a brief parley, the front door of the 
Butterfly House opened to this stranger; not 
only did he gain admittance, but was not seen to 
leave till an hour passed. 

His final act before disappearing from Eidge- 
field forever was to hire a horse and sleigh and 
drive up to the Halliday cottage on Thorn, pre- 
sumably to obtain a photograph of Candace 's 
birthplace. Half a dozen men and boys offered 
to act as coachman, but he informed the livery 
keeper that he wished to go alone. This did not 
prevent him from picking up Van Richards on 



338 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

the way, leaving the town to wonder in what 
supernatural manner Van had managed to make 
his acquaintance. Little wonder that when the 
stranger finally took himself and his notebook 
away on the evening train, concerted effort was 
made to induce Van to divulge for what paper 
or periodical he was a reporter. But as ever, 
Van was annoyingly unexpected. 

6 'Keporter, nothing !" he announced flip- 
pantly to the questioning audience in the corner 
drug-store. "Do you think Mr. Dexter would 
waste his time on a pencil-pusher, much less let 
him talk with Cary?" 

"But what was his business V 9 asked the 
druggist, giving Van the bottle of listerine he 
had been sent for. ' ' What was he poking round 
town for, asking a thousand questions about the 
truck and how it started and all?" 

"H. 0. K.," replied Van with an exaspera- 
ting shrug of his shoulders, "which is, being 
interpreted, Heaven only knows! Except my- 
self," he added provokingly as he left the store, 
"and I swore that I wouldn't tell." 



CHAPTER XXVn 

COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 

Candace, rather thin, her lovely coloring 
somewhat faded, and with a head covered by 
short chestnut ringlets, for her glorious hair 
had been cut during that first week after her 
accident, chanced to be sitting on the wide porch 
of the Butterfly House the day that Cousin An- 
thony came. 

Spring, hovering fitfully in the neighborhood 
of Ridgefield, was waking crocuses and daffo- 
dils from their winter sleep, bringing constant 
surprises to the Dexter family, none of whom 
knew the garden nor where things might natu- 
rally be expected to pop up. That very morn- 
ing, Candace exclaimed over a host of gay little 
yellow blossoms, arriving overnight amid the 
grass of the lawn, and Cary came running in 
with a handful of heavenly blue scilla, found in 
a sheltered spot below the library bay window. 
Now, she and Chrissy were making the most of 

339 



340 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

this sunny Saturday morning, raking away pro- 
tecting leaves and disclosing hidden treasure 
of snowdrops. 

Candace saw the stranger pause before the 
house, but thought nothing of it, since even the 
passing inhabitants of Ridgefield usually lifted 
their eyes to the Butterfly. One seeing it for 
the first time would naturally delay to study it 
closely. But after surveying the fagade of the 
house, the gentleman ran a carefully apprais- 
ing eye over the grounds, then opened the gate 
and came slowly up the walk. As he approached 
the porch, he lifted his hat. 

"I wonder if this is my cousin Cary?" he 
asked with a pleasant smile. 

"I'm Candace Halliday," was the reply. 
"That is Cary with the rake." 

The visitor turned in the direction indicated. 
Cary straightened up, her hands full of snow- 
drops. 

"You don't know me, I fancy," the stranger 
went on. "Did you ever hear of Anthony 
Davenport?" 

"Oh, yes," said Cary cordially. "Indeed, I 
have, Cousin Anthony. Daddy often speaks of 
you. Why, the Butterfly House belongs to you. 



COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 341 

I can't shake hands because I've been grubbing 
in the border here/' she went on. "Mother and 
Daddy went to Burlington for the day, but they 
will be so glad to see you. Candace is my 
adopted sister, and this is little Christine." 

Candace shook hands and Chrissy gave him 
a bewitching smile. Cousin Anthony was about 
Mr. Dexter's age, with graying hair, a keen, 
pleasant face, and a prosperous look. 

"Daddy will want you to come to us," Cary 
said after they had chatted a few minutes, dur- 
ing which she promptly decided that she liked 
Cousin Anthony. "They won't be home till 
late, so please telephone for your bag to be sent 
over and have luncheon with Candace and me. 
They won't like it at all if I let you go to the 
hotel, and indeed, you won't like it either. It's 
not a place one would choose to stay." 

Anthony Davenport, who had once known 
Charles Dexter intimately, and whose boyish 
affection had lasted through years of separa- 
tion, did not hesitate to accept the invitation of 
his daughter. He himself returned to the sta- 
tion for his bag, thus giving Cary time to warn 
Lizzie of the visitor and to see that the south- 
east guest-room was in immaculate order. 



342 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

"I'm getting to be as good a housekeeper as 
you," she declared to Candace. "No, you are 
not going to dust. You're growing pale, and 
if you don't sit down and rest, I shall put you 
into bed. Miss Kogers told me when she went 
that I was to be very strict with you, Candace 
Halliday. Here, you may arrange these 
flowers. No, indeed, I'm not going to waste 
them on Cousin Anthony till I decide whether 
he is worthy of having flowers in his room. 
Half are for you and half for our precious 
Mammy. ' ' 

At luncheon, Cousin Anthony made himself 
so agreeable that he and the girls were on terms 
of intimacy long before it ended. Such strides 
did their acquaintance make that later, when 
Candace and Chrissy both went up for their 
afternoon rest, he and Cary found themselves 
discussing the Butterfly House and Aunt 
Nancy's will, subjects that Anthony himself 
would never have introduced, had not Cary, by 
chance references, betrayed that she knew all 
about both. After that, it was only natural 
that they should arrive by easy stages at the 
old secretary. 

"Do you know," he said when this point was 



COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 343 

reached. "I am visiting Kidgefield partly to 
see if I can't at last come to some definite ar- 
rangement with Charles about that legacy. I 
had in mind to examine the secretary myself. 
I hope that to-morrow he will let me look at 
it." 

"Do it now if you wish," said Cary. "I 
know Daddy won't object, for he lets me. I 
have spent three rainy afternoons over it, but it 
is the most disappointing thing. Come into the 
study if you like and we will go through it again. 
I haven't opened it since Christmas." 

Cousin Anthony agreed and he and Cary in- 
spected the secretary with the most minute care. 
It divulged nothing that Cary had not seen be- 
fore except half a postage-stamp stuck in a 
crack. 

"I cannot understand," said Anthony at 
length. "That will was the most extraordi- 
nary document, and so unjust to Charles. Had 
there been any trouble between him and Aunt 
Nancy, one could have explained it, but she was 
extremely fond of him. Why he, who lived in 
the Butterfly House most of his life, and loved 
every inch of it, should be cut off with an old 
desk, and I, who never saw the place, should 



344 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

have it thrust on me, seems inexplicable. Your 
father is, — well, Cary, perhaps you may have 
noticed this trait at times, — shall we call it re- 
markably firm? I wanted him to have the 
place; I told him to go ahead and contest the 
will and I would not oppose it, but, hurt as he 
was, love and respect for Aunt Nancy held him 
back. Well, there's one thing sure," Cousin 
Anthony ended, rubbing his hair the wrong way 
as he paced up and down the study, "Charles 
cannot prevent having the Butterfly House left 
to him in my will ! I told him as much and he 
had the impudence to tell me that I couldn't 
prevent his dying first if he chose to. I got 
even with him though; I told him I'd fix it so 
it would be saddled on his wife or any child he 
left. What did Aunt Nancy mean? What did 
she intend to do that she didn't? And why 
didn 't she do it, whatever it was ? 

"And I don't suppose," he went on, continu- 
ing his uneasy tramp, ' i that your father is any 
more reasonable now than at any other time 
when I've tried to arrange things. But now 
that I'm going to France — " 

"Oh, are you?" exclaimed Cary excitedly. 

"Not to fight, child, they won't have me. 



COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 345 

Past the age of usefulness, short-sighted, get- 
ting bald, no good to them that way, when it's 
a pity an old bachelor like me can't take the 
place of some young chap with a wife and ba- 
bies. No, it's only to help with the ambulance 
work. Three or four young fellows I'm inter- 
ested in, physically disqualified, too, — just go- 
ing to sort of dry-nurse them. All I'm good 
for." 

So Anthony jerkily designated his position as 
guardian angel of the entire ambulance unit 
he had equipped and was maintaining from his 
own pocket. Charles Dexter, who knew his 
cousin, would have read between the lines and 
guessed this, but Cary did not understand what 
his depreciatory words really meant. That he 
was going to the front was all she grasped. 

"Oh, if you have a chance, do look up Arthur 
Chapin," she exclaimed. Cousin Anthony im- 
mediately produced a note-book already con- 
taining a number of names. 

"Arthur Chapin, first lieutenant, aviation 
section, signal corps; Dr. Chapin, f ather ; Janet, 
sister," he noted. "Anson Brooks, naval en- 
sign, wife Katherine. Indeed, if I come across 
either, I'll make myself known. Well, I'd start 



346 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

feeling happier, if your father would hear rea- 
son about the Butterfly House. Confound that 
secretary ! I expect even yet the key to the 
whole mystery is under our very noses, if we 
only had wit to see it.' , 

Gary, elbows leaning on the ledge of the old 
desk, looked wistfully into its disappointing 
pigeon-holes. 

" 'Our eyes are holden,' " quoted Anthony, 
stopping in his promenade. "Some explana- 
tion exists somewhere, and some day the right 
person will come along and see it. It doesn't 
seem given to either you or me, Gary." 

As he spoke, his glance fell on the blotter upon 
which Gary's elbows idly rested. Suddenly ad- 
justing his glasses, he bent over it intently. 
Following the direction of his eyes, Gary saw 
that he was studying the faint ink-marks on the 
surface. One corner contained a verv decided 
impression. 

"Cary, is that a fresh bit of blotting-paper?" 
he inquired in a tone of interest. 

"No, Gousin Anthony, I'm sure it isn't, be- 
cause the secretary hasn't been used since we 
came. Daddy brought his own desk, you see, 



COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 347 

and this has been opened only when I had a fit 
of hunting through it." 

"Then the blotter must date from the days 
of Aunt Nancy," remarked Anthony. "Just 
detach it from its moorings and bring it into the 
other room." 

The interested and mystified Cary did so. 
Taking the blotter from her, Cousin Anthony 
held it before the big mirror over the library 
mantel. The writing in the corner was now 
quite legible, but proved only the closing phrase 
of some letter. "Very truly yours, Nancy Dex- 
ter." 

Further careful scrutiny revealed nothing 
else even intelligible upon either side of the 
blotter and with a comic gesture of despair, 
Anthony threw it upon the floor to resume his 
uneasy pacing. 

"What did she mean?" he exclaimed in a kind 
of exasperated howl. "Where is the letter of 
explanation that she meant to leave for Charles, 
if not the actual deed itself?" 

"A deed!" queried Cary. 

"Yes," said Anthony, stopping exactly in 
front of her. "You see, except for those be- 



348 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

quests, everything came to me. Filed carefully 
in Aunt Nancy's safe-deposit box were the 
deeds to the Butterfly House, of course turned 
over to me. Now I am as sure as I am of any- 
thing in this uncertain world, that Aunt Nancy 
executed another deed, a transfer, turning the 
property over to Charles. Where is it? 

i ' I don 't know how familiar you are with busi- 
ness/ ' he went on, "but in appointed towns in 
every county or district, deals in real estate are 
recorded, entered on official files, which any one 
may consult. So sure was I that the transfer 
must exist, that I had the records at Burlington 
gone over, and a slow and exasperating job it 
was! That was some fifteen years ago, when 
I was in a tearing hurry to get hold of definite 
evidence to convince Charles. You see, to com- 
plicate matters still further, the old lawyer who 
made Aunt Nancy's will and did her business, 
died before her, so there was no one left who 
knew anything about what she meant to do. 
Very likely he would have known of the exist- 
ence of the transfer deed, but there he was, dead 
and buried, gone to his reward, or the opposite, 
for I don't think he should have let her make 
such a will. 



COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 349 

1 i They dragged along at Burlington, pretend- 
ing to search those records, and every time I 
wrote, blowing them up, they sent me a letter as 
long as the Epistle to the Galatians, trying to 
calm me, and explaining why they couldn't get 
on any faster. Eed tape, all of it. But the 
long and short of it was that no record of such 
a transfer had ever been made. So I was 
dished. You see, even though we couldn't find 
the deed, if I could show a record of it, its ex- 
istence would be proved and Charles would quit 
being a balky mule. Where's that ridiculous 
doll Aunt Nancy bequeathed your mother?" he 
ended with a sudden sort of bark that made his 
startled listener jump. 

"Up in the attic," replied Cary. "We were 
going to bring it down for Chrissy, but Mother 
decided that she didn't want to see it around. 
Would you like to look at it?" 

"I would," was the emphatic answer. 
"That is, if it isn't too much trouble. Let me 
help you get it." 

Together they visited the dark attic and 
brought down both trunk and doll. 

"Now let's see if there was anv reason for 
that idiotic bequest," said Cousin Anthony, ad- 



35o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

justing his glasses, which were being continually 
dislodged by his impulsive movements, and 
glaring fiercely at the inoffensive Judith. 
"Take off her clothes, will you, Caryl" 

Cary undressed the doll, and Cousin Anthony 
began to poke and punch all parts of Judy's 
long-suffering anatomy, paying particular at- 
tention to her chest and round head, shaped like 
a cooky. 

"When was this charming specimen last cov- 
ered?" he asked. 

"Not since Great-aunt Nancy herself did it 
for me," said Cary, greatly interested in his 
performances. "And I never had it after all." 

"What!" exclaimed Anthony with another 
sudden bark. "Cary, can you sew?" he de- 
manded abruptly. 

"After a fashion. It depends upon what you 
want done. If it is anything fussy, you'd bet- 
ter wait till Candace comes down." 

"Can you sew up that doll's head after I've 
ripped it open?" Anthony gruffly specified. 

"Why!" gasped Cary. "You don't think—? 
Let me get the scissors." 

By examination of the stitches it was easy 
enough to find the place where the final opening 



.COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 351 

had been closed, and Cary's excited fingers soon 
ripped the seam and pulled out the cotton bat- 
ting with which the doll was stuffed. To their 
great disappointment, nothing else appeared. 

"Aunt Nancy was no fool, though her sense 
of humor was queer/ ' growled Anthony, "and 
unless she was in her dotage she wouldn't sew 
up an important paper in a rag doll. Probably 
she did re-cover it just for you. I'm sorry I've 
made all that trouble." 

* * Oh, anything is worth trying, ' ' sighed Cary, 
restoring the cotton to its place and plumping 
into shape Judy's pathetically flat person. "I 
can sew it up again in a few minutes." 

Cary threaded a needle, and Anthony, echo- 
ing her sigh, took up the doll's discarded dress, 
pulling it idly through a half -closed hand. 

"Do dolls ever have pockets?" he abruptly 
demanded, shaking out the full skirt. "I cer- 
tainly feel something that crackles like paper." 

"Let me see," said Cary, taking the dress and 
exploring its folds. "Yes, it has a pocket and 
there is a folded bit of paper in it." 

Anthony impolitely snatched it from her. 
"Neither sealed nor addressed," he exclaimed. 
"We have a right then to look at it." 



352 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

The little note was only a quarter- sheet of 
writing paper, folded to fit the tiny pocket. 

"I am wondering whether Cary's baby fingers 
will discover this first, or yours, my dear Anne, 
for the little frock will soon need washing. 
Charles has doubtless received the letter I left 
with my lawyer to be given him after my death 
and explaining the whereabouts of the fourth 
secret drawer. That you may spend in the 
Butterfly House the happiest days of a life that 
promises to be one of joy for you both is the 
sincerest wish of your old Aunt Nancy.' ' 

Having read, the two looked at each other. 
"A fourth drawer !" gasped Cary. "Oh, Cou- 
sin Anthony !" 

i 'That lawyer ! ' ' exclaimed Anthony. ' i Aunt 
Nancy was ill when he died ; she never knew — 
That explains everything !' ' 

He made two steps into the study and brought 
up before the old secretary, an expression of 
positively fierce determination on his face. 

"Now, then!" he exclaimed. "Out with it, 
you senseless piece of furniture. This time we 
mean business. The drawer can't be in the up- 
per part, Cary; there isn't a possible spot for 
it there." 

He removed one heavy, large drawer after 
another, to poke and punch the cavity behind 



COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 353 

as Cary had once done. Then he dashed into 
the study to return with a newspaper which he 
spread on the rug. 

"I want to tip these big drawers over," he 
explained. "Have you ever done that?" 

"Never/ ' said Cary, immediately helping 
with the task. 

"You see," Anthony added, "the only place 
where there is room for a secret drawer is in 
this abnormally thick front." 

Having turned over the top drawer, he care- 
fully scrutinized its edges, paying particular 
attention to the neat dovetailing at the sides. 
Nothing seemed at all unusual about either that 
drawer or the second. The third, which was 
empty to begin with, was in its turn reversed 
and Anthony gave it the same close examina- 
tion. There was absolutely no trace of a con- 
cealed opening. 

"That's a wonderful bit of wood," he re- 
marked, running his thumb along the edge. 
"It must have cost — " 

He stopped with a sudden glance at Cary, 
then repeated the gesture. Nothing was visi- 
ble to the eye, but to the sense of touch there 
was a slight slipping of the wood under his 



354 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

thumb. There came a tiny crack in the bot- 
tom of the apparently solid front; the slide 
yielded to the continual gentle pressure, moved 
half an inch, slid entirely aside, and Cary and 
Cousin Anthony bumped their heads over the 
deep, narrow cavity it revealed. 

Five minutes later, Candace, coming down re- 
freshed from her nap, paused in amazement. 
Anthony Davenport, clasping Cary's hand in 
one of his own, the other wildly waving above 
his head a long piece of blue paper, was exe- 
cuting an extraordinary dance in the front hall 
of the Butterfly House. The astonishing capers 
of Anthony's gray gaiters, twinkling in time to 
Cary's slippers, held Candace 's fascinated 
eyes, and both dancers were madly shouting 
snatches of "Tipperary." 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

CANDACB HAS A LETTER 

Charles and Anne Dexter, returning late that 
afternoon from Burlington, were genuinely 
pleased to be greeted by dignified, severely de- 
corous Cousin Anthony Davenport, whose 
marked calm was emphasized by the unusual 
flutter apparent in both girls, doubtless a little 
overcome by having to receive and entertain 
him during the absence of the heads of the 
house. 

Anthony was charming at dinner, talked most 
entertainingly, without mention of that ever 
sore subject between him and his cousin Charles, 
the Butterfly House. Yet Mrs. Dexter noticed 
two or three glances exchanged across the table 
with Cary, glances so full of mutual liking and 
understanding that she concluded her friendly 
little daughter must really have made quite an 
impression on sober old Anthony. 

After dinner, they adjourned to the library 

355 



356 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

and here something seemed unusual. Every 
article had been removed from the big table 
around which the family was accustomed to 
gather. In the exact center of the bare top 
stood a red doll chair. In the chair sat Judith. 
Upon one of Judy's extended arms was pinned 
a long, rather narrow official-looking piece of 
blue paper; the other held a small folded note. 

This peculiar arrangement caught the atten- 
tion of both Mr. and Mrs. Dexter, who stopped 
in surprise. The next second Charles bent for- 
ward in amazement. "Warranty deed," he 
read. "Nancy Dexter to Charles B. Dexter.' ' 

With a gasp of astonishment he turned to his 
cousin. But Anthony, proper, grave, dignified 
Anthony, hand in hand with Cary, was career- 
ing around the library table in another dance, 
one quite as finished in form and abandoned in 
its ecstasy as their first attempt. 

Mr. Dexter sat down abruptly. "What does 
it mean?" he asked. "Stop prancing, you 
crazy dervishes, and tell us where you found it. " 

They stopped and told him in simple language 
so that he could understand, but after all, it 
looked as though he didn't, for at the conclusion 
of their happy tale he still sat there, holding his 



CANDACE HAS A LETTER 357 

head in his hands. Neither the note in the 
dolPs pocket nor the open secret drawer made 
the expected impression. 

"But this deed has never been recorded/' 
said Mrs. Dexter, looking at the blank lines in- 
tended for that purpose. "And Anthony has 
been in legal possession for fifteen years." 

"Anne Dexter !" shrieked Anthony, bound- 
ing from the chair into which he had dropped 
exhausted. "Do you want me to die of heart- 
failure on the spot?" 

"Hold your horses, Anthony, " said his cou- 
sin, looking up. "I give in. Aunt Nancy 
didn't mean to disinherit me and that is all I 
care about. I would take the Butterfly House 
now, even as a gift at your hands, were that 
necessary." 

"Sane and in his right mind after fifteen 
years of madness ! " breathed Anthony, mopping 
his forehead with exaggerated relief. "All 
that is left is for me to alter my own will, since 
I can no longer give away what I don 't own. ' ' 

"But what became of Great-aunt Nancy's let- 
ter, the one that explained things to Daddy?" 
queried the excited Cary. 

"We shall never know," replied her father, 



358 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

still looking pale. "That lawyer died two 
weeks before her, when she was too ill to make 
other arrangements, perhaps even to know of 
his death. No one took over his business, and 
I have no idea what became of the office papers. 
No one knew that this transfer existed and all 
the other documents were in Aunt Nancy 's safe- 
deposit box. Very likely the letter was lost. ' ' 

"If I had given the doll to Cary as she ex- 
pected, the note in its pocket would have come to 
light,' ' observed Mrs. Dexter, turning it over in 
her fingers. i l But I didn % and I wouldn 't even 
bring it down for Chrissy. I feel as though it 
was my fault. ' ' 

' i Either child might have lost that note with- 
out ever showing it to you, ,, said her husband, 
looking up. " All it would have told us was that 
there was a fourth drawer. But, Anne, Aunt 
Nancy didn't mean to leave us out." 

He looked at his wife with a smile that she 
understood. His refusal to yield to Anthony's 
urgings had not been the obstinacy denounced 
by his cousin, but real pain, because he sin- 
cerely loved the aunt who brought him up. 

"And we have turned those drawers over 
long before this," he went on. "It all hinged 



CANDACE HAS A LETTER 359 

on Anthony's rubbing his thumb over that 
special end." 

"Probably a magnifying-glass would have 
shown the crack," observed his cousin. "It 
was no easy job to make that cavity in the be- 
ginning, and whoever did it was a master crafts- 
man. ' ' 

"And now we shall never have to leave the 
dear Butterfly House," sang Cary. 

"Oh," said her father suddenly. "This 
morning I received a letter from my old school 
board, offering great inducements to return to 
the Technical High next fall. And so you don 't 
want to go, Cary!" 

Not for an appreciable instant did Cary hesi- 
tate. "I couldn't leave Ridgefield," she said. 
"Not Amy and Janet, though I'd still have Can- 
dace — -but the river and Thorn and the Butterfly 
House, — oh, no, no, Daddy, don't let's go." 

"And the Ridgefield High School?" queried 
her father mischievously. 

"I'm going to be one of its famous alumni!" 
retorted Cary. "Just wait till Candace and I 
are breaking records at college ; that is, till Can- 
dace is. Do you want to go back, Mammy?" 
We neither of us do," said Mrs. Dexter in 



a 



360 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

a voice that for her was unusually serious, "and 
now," indicating the blue deed, "I don't very 
well see how we can. Dear as our old home 
was, still it was hard to find even a star to 
look at." 

"Cousin Anthony,' ' asked Cary, "do you feel 
quite strong and able to dance again? Because 
Candace isn't up to it yet and I feel that I 
must!" 

Next week, Spring came to Ridgefield to stay, 
and seemed to save her sunniest smile for the 
garden of the Butterfly House, where crocuses 
and scilla were being crowded hard by daffodils 
and hyacinths. Cary developed an unsuspected 
enthusiasm for digging in the dirt, and Candace 
joined her when strength permitted. 

"I wish I might go back to school," she ob- 
served one afternoon when both were in the 
garden. 

"Daddy says you can easily study up this 
summer," replied Cary, digging furiously 
around the roots of a peony. "He intends to 
tutor you and says you can surely go on with 
your class. You must, Candace, or I shall drop 
back, too. I won't go to college without you. 
There ! I 've scratched up everything in sight. ' ' 



CANDACE HAS A LETTER 361 

"I only hope I can go at all," sighed Candace. 
" After I finish High School I shall have to stop 
and earn the money, before I even think of 
college." 

"We'll see about that," replied Cary firmly. 
"I wish we knew surely where Cousin Anthony 
is going and if he is likely to run across the 
Eidgefield boys. Janet was so happy when I 
saw her at school to-day, because two letters 
came through from Arthur yesterday, and 
though he said he couldn't write half as much 
as he'd like, because of an executioner in black 
styled the Censor, — apologies to Barrie, — he 
was well and busy and very contented. Mammy 
is calling, — I wonder which of us. Probably 
you didn't take your egg-nog, Candace Halli- 
day. Oh, she wants us both. ' ' 

Cary dropped her trowel and pushed back 
her hair from a flushed face. "This day is 
positively hot," she sighed. "I'm crazy to see 
what summer is going to be in this garden. I 
don't believe I want to leave the Butterfly House 
even to visit Grandmother Cary. If she writes 
for me, you'll have to go. Look! I believe 
that was a hummingbird. I saw a dash in the 



air." 



362 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

Arm in arm the girls approached the porch 
where Mr. and Mrs. Dexter were sitting. 

"Oh, the mail, ,, Cary remarked. "Did I 
have any letters !" 

"No, only Candace," replied her father, 
handing Candace a big envelope with an impos- 
ing name in the upper corner, and a small reg- 
istered package. 

"For me?" said Candace in surprise, for a 
letter was an unusual event to a girl without 
relatives, who had lived all her life in Ridge- 
field. She opened it with interest, quite un- 
aware of the smiles with which the older people 
watched her. But she read, only to look up in 
amazement. 

"I don't understand, ' p she stammered. 

"Let me look," said Cary, leaning over her 
shoulder. "Probably it's some advertisement 
that you don't have to tire your head over." 

Charles Dexter chuckled as Cary bent her 
brows upon the sheet of paper. He was willing 
to wager that his quick-witted little daughter 
would grasp the essential fact that he more than 
suspected the letter contained. 

He was not mistaken. Cary gave a sudden 



CANDACE HAS A LETTER 363 

shriek, clasped her hands, and whirled madly 
around on the tips of her toes. 

"Candace, don't you understand? The Car- 
negie Hero Fund! Look at the heading. You 
haven't forgotten the truck and those little chil- 
dren in the road? They are awarding you a 
medal and listen, — two thousand dollars for 
' educational purposes as needed' !" she quoted 
from the letter. "Candace Halliday! oh, Can- 
dace Halliday! Daddy, was that why you 
called me in to see that man who came to ask 
about it? It was? Oh, Candace!" 

"Two thousand dollars won't come amiss 
when you finish with the High School and are 
thinking of college, will it, Candace?" asked 
Aunt Anne gently. "And it is given for edu- 
cational purposes only, you see." 

Candace, pale but with shining eyes, sat al- 
most stunned. Suddenly she turned to look up 
to Thorn where stood the cottage in which An- 
drew Halliday had dreamed of college for both 
himself and his daughter. 

Some moments passed, before Candace with 
trembling fingers opened the package and looked 
at the bronze medal it contained, bearing on one 



364 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE 

side the medallion bust of its founder, the 
words " Carnegie Hero Fund" and the date of 
its establishment. The reverse, beautifully de- 
signed and decorated, bore within the space 
provided for that purpose, the name of Candace 
Halliday. 

"Oh," said Candace in a voice that she tried 
hard to keep under control, a task not rendered 
easier by Cary's embracing arms, "oh, what 
have I ever done to deserve all this ? To belong 
in the Butterfly House and have this in addition, 
just because in a moment when I didn't even 
stop to think, I pulled two little children out of 
the street!" 

' ' There is something else on your medal, Can- 
dace," said Uncle Charles. "Read it and you 
will understand why." 

Candace looked again at the medal, decipher- 
ing the tiny beautiful letters around the margin 
of the reverse side. 

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friends. " 



THE END 



P 



19 y